A worm is a self-contained program that replicates and sends copies of itself to other
computers, generally across a network. The worm’s purpose may be simply to reduce
availability by using up network bandwidth, or it may take other nefarious actions.
The main difference between a virus and a worm is that a worm does not need a host
program to infect. The worm is a standalone program.

The first worm reported to spread “in the wild” was the
Morris worm. Robert Tappan Morris wrote the Morris worm in
1988. The Morris worm attacked a buffer-overflow vulnerability.
The original intent of the Morris worm was to estimate the size
of the Internet by spreading across the Internet and infecting
computers running versions of the UNIX operating system.
The worm spread faster than its author expected, however. In
the end, the worm infected computers multiple times, eventually
slowing each infected computer to the point it became unusable.
The Morris worm was the first malware incident to gain wide-
spread media attention and resulted in the first conviction
under the U.S. 1986 Computer Use and Fraud Act. ” (Kim and Solomon, 2012)

Resources:

Kim, D. and Solomon, M. (2012). Fundamentals of Information System Security, Jones & Bartlett Learning.
eText: ISBN-10 1-4496-4248-9

 

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