Computer worms are also known as network worms. Like computer viruses and trojan horses, network worms are considered malware because they cause disruption or destruction in computer systems and networks. Most decent antivirus firewall software programs are able to detect worm activity or infection in a network or computer system.
Computer worms or network worms are efficient in their methods of spreading and are very prolific. As a matter of fact, that is the foremost goal of a network worm: to multiply and to spread as fast as possible. Most network worms are designed not to alter computer files, although some worms are also capable of that destructive effect.
Network worms spread through network connections. Over the Internet, you can just imagine the many connections that a worm can travel to. And at a very high speed at that, too. Since network worms are self-replicating and self-dispersing, the primary damage of worm infection is network chokes or congestion. Many worms have been known to bring down a very large network down to its knees. This can cause so much annoyance and disruption in business, commerce, and government services, especially those that rely on network environments.
A well-known computer worm, for example, wrought so much damage within just a few hours after it was released in 2001. The Code Red worm was able to spread itself to more than 250,000 systems within less than just half a day of July 21 on that year. Within the next 20 days, Code Red has already infected millions of systems, have already shut down infected servers, and launched an attack on the US White House website in order to bring down the site by congesting network traffic to it. That’s an example of how destructive a network worm can be.
Just like computer viruses, computer worms can be as small as a few bytes or as large as several kilobytes or megabytes. A destructive worm released in 2003, for example, was just a measly 376 bytes, yet it caused a huge mayhem that year. The name of that worm is Slammer.
To protect your computer from worm attacks, and also to help in preventing worms from spreading through your network connection, you should use an antivirus firewall software program.