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Chapter 8. E-mail Security > Viruses, Trojans, and Worms

Viruses, Trojans, and Worms

It is interesting to consider how fast time passes on the Internet. Just a few years ago, a difference was readily apparent between a virus, a Trojan, and a worm. Each had its place and caused its own mischief on a personal computer. Today, however, the lines have become blurred to the point of confusion, although it is quite common for a single program to represent characteristics of each. Today, viruses, Trojans, and worms have the potential to wreak havoc on the entire Internet infrastructure, bringing major Internet backbones and servers to their knees by overloading them with traffic.

What Is a Virus?

A virus is a piece of software that installs itself on your computer against your wishes. It typically has some sort of payload. Viruses are manmade and typically are created to bring destruction. Their payload might consist of such things as randomly deleting files on your hard drive, or making infinite copies of themselves until a computer's resources are overloaded and the system halts.


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