Frankenmalware Explained

January 28th, 2012

Computer SecurityI posted this topic just because the name is so neat. “Frankenmalware” describes the result of a computer virus infecting a computer worm. The worm then propagates the virus.

For those who find this confusing, here’s a short tutorial on the difference between a virus and a worm. A virus is malware that attaches itself to executable files on a computer. When an infected file is run, the virus code is also run. Viruses may or may not contain mechanisms to spread themselves to other machines. A worm, however, is a standalone program that propagates itself over a network by taking advantage of security holes in target machines. Unlike viruses, worms do not have to attach themselves to existing executable files—a worm is autonomous. Note that the distinction between viruses and worms is not perfect—some malware contains components of both—and we have a tendency to lump them all under the umbrella name of “viruses”.

So frankenmalware occurs when a computer that’s already infected with a worm gets infected with a virus, and the virus attaches itself to the worm’s executable file. When the worm spreads to another machine, it unknowingly carries the virus and infects the new computer. All of this is done without the intervention of the user or the knowledge of the people who wrote the virus/worm.

(via Kim Komando)

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