Computer Worm

A computer worm is a little like a computer virus. It invades computer systems, interfering with their normal functions. It travels along any available compatible computer network and stops to knock at the door of systems attached to that network. If there is a hole in the security of the computer system, it will crawl through and enter the system. When it does this, it might have instructions to do any number of things, from sending computer users a message to trying to take over the system. What makes a worm different from other computer programs, such as viruses, is that it is self-propagating. It propels itself forward, wiggles into a new system and propagates itself at the new site. Unlike a virus, a worm doesn't latch onto a data file or a program. It is autonomous.7

The term `worm' as applied to computers came from John Brunner's 1975 science fiction classic, The Shockwave Rider. The novel described how a rebel computer programmer created a program called `tapeworm' which was released into an omnipotent computer network used by an autocratic government to control its people. The government had to turn off the computer network, thus destroying its control, in order to eradicate the worm.


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