Home > Publications > Non-Technical > Worms-Write Once Read Many

Worms-Write Once Read Many

Worms are typically self-contained/replicating computer programs that infect computers and have the ability to distribute, modify, delete, or manipulate data. Users are the cause of the worm infestation, either by downloading from an infected source (opening e-mail from unknown sources, following links in an e-mail or pop-up, or clicking unknown websites and running hidden scripts), installing a program that contained a worm, or by transferring the program (document, file, image) that contained the worm. Most users don’t recognize that they have a worm their computer until it starts acting unusual (constant reboots, excessive slowness, documents no longer open, etc.)

Practicing these tips can prevent worm infestation:

1.  Turn on your firewall and anti-virus software.


2.  Set your computer to automatically update the anti-virus software and 
     operating system when the computer is started.


3.  Turn on your pop-up blocker


4. Do not open any e-mails from unknown persons


5. Do not download information from an unknown source (ads, pop-ups, etc).


6. Check if new programs were installed without your permission.


7. Schedule a full virus scan to run on your computer at least twice a month. The
   scan will locate unusual activity on your hard drive.


8. Always read the entire Terms and Conditions Agreement when installing
   anything on your computer. Sometimes the end of the agreement contains extra
   items that are included in the download (ie. toolbar, gadgets, etc.) and could
   contain worms.



If you believe a worm has infected your computer try to determine what type of worm it is by looking for recently added programs, examine programs that are acting unusual and investigate any unusual occurrences (excessive time opening files). Another method to determine what type of worm has infected your computer is running a virus scan. This tool scans your computer for potential worm/virus infestation.  Once you have determined what type of worm is on your computer, locate the removal tool on a trusted web site. Removal tools are programs that scan your computer and remove the worm/malicious programs running on your computer. Removal tools can either be specific to the worm/malicious program or a generic format used by various types of infestations. 


Worms can easily infect your computer but they also can take a long time to remove. Remember to practice the tips above to prevent infection. More information on worms and using virus removal tools can be found at Computer Hope.com