23. What is a trojan/worm/virus/logic bomb?
This FAQ answer was written by Theora:
Remember the Trojan Horse? Bad guys hid inside it until they could get
into the city to do their evil deed. A trojan computer program is
similar. It is a program which does an unauthorized function, hidden
inside an authorized program. It does something other than what it
claims to do, usually something malicious (although not necessarily!),
and it is intended by the author to do whatever it does. If it's not
intentional, its called a 'bug' or, in some cases, a feature :) Some
virus scanning programs detect some trojans. Some virus scanning
programs don't detect any trojans. No virus scanners detect all
A virus is an independent program which reproduces itself. It may
attach to other programs, it may create copies of itself (as in
companion viruses). It may damage or corrupt data, change data, or
degrade the performance of your system by utilizing resources such as
memory or disk space. Some virus scanners detect some viruses. No
virus scanners detect all viruses. No virus scanner can protect
against "any and all viruses, known and unknown, now and forevermore".
Made famous by Robert Morris, Jr. , worms are programs which reproduce
by copying themselves over and over, system to system, using up
resources and sometimes slowing down the systems. They are self
contained and use the networks to spread, in much the same way viruses
use files to spread. Some people say the solution to viruses and worms
is to just not have any files or networks. They are probably correct.
We would include computers.
Code which will trigger a particular form of 'attack' when a
designated condition is met. For instance, a logic bomb could delete
all files on Dec. 5th. Unlike a virus, a logic bomb does not make
copies of itself.