Friday, May 8, 2015

What are worms and how to protect your systems from them.

Worms are a form of malware that can infect many systems on a network by sending copies of themselves from one system to another until they infect every system. A common form of distribution is by attaching the worm to an email. Once the user opens the attachment, the worm installs itself on the system and spreads to other systems on the same network. The example below shows Melissa, the worm, is sent as an attachment and then spreads to the rest of the systems on the network.

Since a worm is malware, the best protection against a worm attack starts with not letting the worm have access to the system. The first line defense to protect your system is a network firewall configured to block external access to network services.  You should also enable content filtering and using anti-virus programs to scan for known viruses and worms.
The next logical defense against a worm attack is security awareness training for users to teach them signs of this known threat. This training should explain not to open unknown attachments, links or emails from untrusted sources.  It should also include procedures for reporting symptoms of a worm infection on their systems to help with containment.

Finally, to protect against worms the systems administrator should ensure all systems and software are up to date with the newest security releases. These patches will help protect computers from newly discovered threats.


GFI Software. (2013). Protecting your network against email threats: How to block email viruses and attacks. Retrieved from

VERCODE. (2014). Computer Worm. Retrieved from

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