August 8, 2010

Malware: Purpose behind releasing such Infectious Softwares

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Many early infectious programs, including the first Internet Worm and a number of MS-DOS viruses, were written as experiments or pranks generally intended to be harmless or merely annoying rather than to cause serious damage to computers. In some cases the perpetrator did not realize how much harm their creations could do. Young programmers learning about viruses and the techniques wrote them for the sole purpose that they could or to see how far it could spread. As late as 1999, widespread viruses such as the Melissa virus appear to have been written chiefly as pranks.

Hostile intent related to vandalism can be found in programs designed to cause harm or data loss. Many DOS viruses, and the Windows ExploreZip worm, were designed to destroy files on a hard disk, or to corrupt the file system by writing invalid data. Network-borne worms such as the 2001 Code Red worm or the Ramen worm fall into the same category. Designed to vandalize web pages, these worms may seem like the online equivalent to graffiti tagging, with the author's alias or affinity group appearing everywhere the worm goes.

However, since the rise of widespread broadband Internet access, malicious software has come to be designed for a profit motive, either more or less legal (forced advertising) or criminal. For instance, since 2003, the majority of widespread viruses and worms have been designed to take control of users' computers for black-market exploitation. Infected "zombie computers" are used to send email spam, to host contraband data such as child pornography, or to engage in distributed denial-of-service attacks as a form of extortion.

Another strictly for-profit category of malware has emerged in Spyware -- programs designed to monitor users' web browsing, display unsolicited advertisements, or redirect affiliate marketing revenues to the Spyware creator. Spyware programs do not spread like viruses; they are generally installed by exploiting security holes or are packaged with user-installed software, such as peer-to-peer applications.

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Tomboy

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