Its impossible to explain why some people get
a kick out of destroying other's computer systems. Its
the same with any kind of vandalism, perhaps they get a sense
of power, or they may feel its an
indication of their intelligence (which it is!), or maybe they
just crave the notoriety (bragging often gets them caught).
Theres absolutely no money in writing viruses. The moneys
in developing Anti-Virus software. In fact, the idiots that
write the viruses are solely responsible for making millionaires
out of the AV developers.
Destructive and damaging
programs have been around since the early computers. Theyve
caused different amounts of damage, from displaying a small
annoying message on your monitor, to destroying your MBR or
FAT and rendering your computer completely useless. But, they
never used to replicate or clone themselves. They caused damage
to the host computer and that was it. Distribution was the author's
Now, true 'viruses' can clone
themselves. They can fill up your hard drive with garbage files
and slow your computer down to a crawl. They can attach to files
and keep copies of the original to fool 'anti-virus' programs.
They can travel and infect other computers through floppy disks,
CDs, shared network files, e-mail attachments and other files
downloaded from the internet or over modem lines. They can 'morph'
or change their signature (distinct properties or coding) as
they infect, making it harder for anti-virus programs to detect.
It is important to note that
a virus does not destroy your actual hardware, just the programs,
drivers and files associated with your hardware. However, with
the popularity of 'Flash ROMs' being used on video cards, hard
drives, NICs, and even your system BIOS, it's only a matter
of time. A good anti-virus program is a must for your computer.
But, don't think you can just install it and forget about it.
There are hundreds of new virus signatures discovered every
month. Most AV programs, like Mcafee or Norton Anti-Virus, will
allow you to download and update your virus data and information
files off the Internet for free. The virus data files available
from these websites are updated every two-three months.
Something new, are the different online virus
scanners and computer maintenance clinics. One I use is McAfee's.
I have scanned and removed viruses using this online product.
The virus information files are always up-to-date, and you don't
have to worry about constantly downloading new signatures. Some
may find it a little frustrating to set up at first, but hang
in there, the product is well worth it.
These are small
but damaging programs that sit on your computer system and wait
for a certain key combination, or a specific file access, or
a certain date before releasing its payload.
This type of program
generally releases its payload and causes damage as soon as
it arrives on your computer.
like their namesake, try to tempt or trick the user into activating
the program themselves. They have innocent names, like 'IMPORTANT.EXE',
'README.EXE', 'URGENT.EXE', or appear to be a game or application.
The user clicks on them and releases the payload.
Usually found on
intranets or internets, these files would gather information
as they sat on the system. Maybe recording passwords
or access codes when they were typed in, or leaving 'back doors'
open, allowing for unauthorized accesses.
Another type of worm is a file that just keeps replicating itself
over and over. By constantly reproducing itself it can slow
a computer or an entire network to a standstill.
All these types of 'miscreant
software' are often lumped together and called viruses. And,
a lot of viruses do contain these in some form or another. However,
a true virus usually has a 'host' file. In other words, it can
attach itself to a file already on your system. It has the ability
to clone itself. It can reproduce itself and infect other files
or drives and computer systems. Viruses can also hide themselves
from detection in several different ways.