What are worms and how to remove them

by - - | Type: Worms
1 2

A worm is a malicious self-replicating computer program designed to infect computers in an attempt to deliver a destructive payload. A typical worm spreads via e-mail messages, file sharing networks or through open network shares. Widely spread complex parasites usually propagate themselves by exploiting certain security vulnerabilities in the targeted remote system. The most worms can infect files, degrade overall system's performance and try to steal sensitive user's information or install other dangerous parasites, such as backdoors or trojans, on it. Worms are very similar to regular computer viruses and, therefore, can rely on different functionality.

How do worms spread and promote themselves?

Worms replicate themselves and infect a computer without user's knowledge and consent. There are three major ways these unsolicited parasites can get into the system.

  • Some parasites, called mass-mailing worms, propagate themselves through e-mail messages. They arrive in files attached to e-mail messages or come embedded into letters. Once the user opens such a letter or file the worm silently installs itself to the system. The user cannot notice anything suspicious, as a parasite does not display any setup wizards, dialogs or warnings.
  • Widely spread worms infect vulnerable computer on the Internet by exploiting known operating system and installed software security vulnerabilities. Such parasite spread on their own and therefore do not require any user interference.
  • Many worms distribute themselves in infected files that arrive attached to instant messages or can be downloaded from file sharing networks or unprotected network shares. Such worms spread the infection in files with meaningful names in order to trick the user into executing them. Once the user opens a file, the worm silently infects a computer.

Worms have been capable of infecting only those computers that run Microsoft Windows operating system. However, today they can also affect Mac OS X and other systems.

What does a worm do on my computer?

The infiltration of worm noticeably decreases overall computer's performance and degrades the speed of the Internet. The infected PC user can also suffer from web surfing problems, system instability and software functionality issues. Moreover, the computer becomes the source of viruses and can pose a serious danger to other hosts and networks. The most of worms can also decrease system's security by modifying security-related application settings and disabling antivirus or anti-spyware protection. Some parasites can infect a computer with the most serious security and privacy threats, such as various backdoors or trojans. The remote attacker can use these pests to gain unauthorized access to a compromised computer, steal user's sensitive information or totally destroy the entire system and all user data.

As you can see, a worm by itself means a significant risk to your privacy and security. Lots of these parasites are designed to collect valuable user information like passwords, bank account details, credit card numbers or identity data, and silently transfer it to the attacker. Some worms are made for criminal purposes. They are created to infect computers of corporate users and steal or disclose to public secret documents and other confidential information. To sum up, these are the most typical activities caused by worm:

  • Using a compromised system to spread through e-mail, file sharing networks, instant messenger, online chats or open network shares.
  • Infecting files, corrupting installed applications and damaging the entire system.
  • Stealing or disclosing sensitive personal information, valuable documents, passwords, login names, identity details and user contacts.
  • Installing a backdoor or dropping other dangerous parasites.
  • Modifying essential system settings to decrease overall system security and making it more vulnerable.
  • Severely degrading Internet connection speed and overall system performance, causing software instability. Some parasites are badly programmed; they waste too much computer resources and conflict with installed applications.
  • Providing no uninstall feature, hides processes, files, and other objects to complicate its removal as much as possible.

The most dangerous examples of worms

There are thousands of different computer worms. The following examples illustrate how treacherous and harmful worms can be.

ILoveYou, also known as LoveLetter and Love Bug, is perhaps the most widely-known worm in all history of worms. It struck the computer world in 2000 and infected a big number of systems all over the world. ILoveYou spreads through email as attachment to the letters. However, the text of the letters seems so nice and sweet that users open attachments without even thinking that there could be a virus. The text of e-mail may contain words like "I love you" and everything that is similar to that. ILoveYou spreads very fast, because when it gets to the system, it immediately sends its copies to all the addresses from the Microsoft Outlook Express address book. It also harms the system, by overwriting essential system files, user personal documents, multimedia files, and other critical data. Some ILoveYou variants are responsible for a Denial of Service attack on the official White House website.

MyDoom, also known as Novarg, Shimgapi, and Mimail, is the fastest spreading worm ever. The parasite propagates by e-mail and through file sharing networks. It comes in infected files attached to e-mail messages that trick the user into believing that regular mail servers sent them as delivery error notifications. Once the user executes such a file, MyDoom silently installs itself to the system and runs its payload. The worm sets up a backdoor that gives the remote attacker full unauthorized access to a compromised computer and performs a Denial of Service attack against SCO and Microsoft companies websites. It also blocks access to several popular domains. MyDoom is responsible for significant worldwide Internet performance slowdown that took place at the beginning of 2004. One in ten of all e-mail messages at that time contained a copy of the parasite.

The Iglamer worm is an infamous Internet parasite that infects vulnerable computers running systems with open security breaches. It does not distribute itself with the help of e-mail messages or networks but infects computers directly. This virus does not depend on the user's actions. Iglamer installs itself to the system and searches for other vulnerable hosts. The worm can hang the infected computer or reboot it frequently. It also severely compromises the security of infected systems, so the attackers can connect and control them remotely.

How can I fix my computer and remove worm?

Worms work in the same manner as regular computer viruses and, therefore, they can be found and removed from the system with the help of effective anti-malware. Programs that we tested and recommend for the removal of worms are Reimage and Malwarebytes Anti Malware. These malware removers have an extensive parasite signature databases that can easily detect and remove certain worms and related malicious components. 

Newest Worms

Remove Conficker.C

April 21st, 2017. Conficker worm is an old virus which continues its malicious activity "Conficker virus" stands for the name of the computer worm which was first detected in November 2008[ref en-1]. It breaks into a computer system and then connects to a larger network of machines – botnet, which then... More...

Koobface removal instructions

February 7th, 2017. Koobface worm proliferates and makes astounding profit for its owners Koobface operates as a computer worm that is capable of affecting Mac OS X, Linux and Microsoft Windows operating systems[ref en-1]. Koobface is also known as W32/Koobface, W32/Koobface.AZ, W32.Koobface and Boface. By the... More...

Iglamer fix

May 31st, 2015. What is Iglamer worm and what activities does it do on an infected computer? Iglamer is an Internet worm, and it works like a Trojan - it enters user's computer while pretending to be someone else. It can pass Firewall and some anti-virus programs, also, it may spread via e-mail attachments... More...

Database of Worms Parasites

  • Almanahe b March 9th, 2010 | No Comments
    Almanahe.b is a worm that spreads by infecting executable files on any local, removable or mapped network driv...

  • Backdoor.IRC.Bot September 27th, 2011 | No Comments
    Backdoor.IRC.Bot is worm which allows a remote attacker to reach infected computer and take control of it. It ...

  • Blackworm April 13th, 2009 | 6 Comments
    Blackworm is also known as Grew.a, Grew.b, Blackmal.e, Nyxem.e, Nyxem.d, Mywife.d, Tearec.a and CME-24. It is ...

  • Bofra January 7th, 2013 | No Comments
    Bofra is a cyber threat, which belongs to the category of 'worms'. This virus can be used for many malicious p...

  • Brontok worm October 3rd, 2011 | 3 Comments
    The Brontok worm is a parasite that spreads across internet by sending infected email attachments to potential...

  • Chango May 31st, 2015 | No Comments
    This is an Internet worm. It may spread via e-mail attachments or through some networks or vulnerable programs...

  • Conficker.C April 21st, 2017 | 1 Comments
    Conficker worm is an old virus which continues its malicious activity "Conficker virus" stands for the name o...

  • Dorkbot worm October 11th, 2012 | No Comments
    Dorkbot worm (also called as Win32/Dorkbot) is a dangerous infection that is actively spread at the moment. As...

  • Godmessage Worm May 30th, 2015 | No Comments
    Godmessage Worm is a worm written in Visual Basic language and spreads through email. It can make a really big...

  • I Love You Worm October 29th, 2015 | No Comments
    I Love You Worm (also known as VBS/Loveletter) is perhaps one of the most widely-known viruses of this type. I...

  • I-Worm.Fix2001 May 30th, 2015 | No Comments
    Dangerous worm Fix2001 spreads in the Internet by e-mail and infects computers with Windows operating system (...

  • Iglamer October 29th, 2015 | No Comments
    What is Iglamer worm and what activities does it do on an infected computer? Iglamer is an Internet worm, and...

  • IRC-Worm.Fagot December 8th, 2011 | No Comments
    Fagot is a dangerous worm, which spreads in IRC networks via vulnerable versions of mIRC chat program. It plac...

  • IRC-Worm.Girls May 30th, 2015 | No Comments
    Worm Girls spreads in IRC networks using client software. After computer gets infected, it places its files on...

  • IRC-Worm.Lunatik July 5th, 2004 | No Comments
    Worm Lunatik spreads in IRC networks via client software. If your computer gets infected by this worm, it w...

  • Jalabed February 10th, 2006 | No Comments
    Jalabed is a dangerous Internet worm that spreads by e-mail via messages with infected attachments and through...

  • Jenxcus virus July 1st, 2014 | No Comments
    Jenxcus virus is a malicious worm, which is actively used for infecting computers and then stealing personal i...

  • JS.Twettir January 8th, 2011 | No Comments
    JS.Twettir is a worm that exploits a bug in the Twitter messaging client. Basically, JS.Twettir performs a cro...

  • Kelihos Worm April 24th, 2013 | No Comments
    Kelihos Worm is a dangerous cyber infection, which has been infecting computers for a long time. From time to ...

  • Koobface February 7th, 2017 | 27 Comments
    Koobface worm proliferates and makes astounding profit for its owners Koobface operates as a computer worm t...

1 | 2 | NEXT

Information updated: 2016-08-05

Read in other languages

Like us on Facebook