The Evolution Of Computer Viruses History (P3)

This third installment of ‘The evolution of viruses’ will look at how the Internet and e-mail changed the propagation techniques used by computer viruses.

Internet and e-mail revolutionized communications. However, as expected, virus creators didn’t take long to realize that along with this new means of communication, an excellent way of spreading their creations far and wide had also dawned. Therefore, they quickly changed their aim from infecting a few computers while drawing as much attention to themselves as possible, to damaging as many computers as possible, as quickly as possible. This change in strategy resulted in the first global virus epidemic, which was caused by the Melissa worm.


With the appearance of Melissa, the economic impact of a virus started to become an issue. As a result, users -above all companies- started to become seriously concerned about the consequences of viruses on the security of their computers. This is how users discovered antivirus programs, which started to be installed widely. However, this also brought about a new challenge for virus writers, how to slip past this protection and how to persuade users to run infected files.

The answer to which of these virus strategies was the most effective came in the form of a new worm: Love Letter, which used a simple but effective ruse that could be considered an early type of social engineering. This strategy involves inserting false messages that trick users into thinking that the message includes anything, except a virus. This worm’s bait was simple; it led users to believe that they had received a love letter.

This technique is still the most widely used. However, it is closely followed by another tactic that has been the center of attention lately: exploiting vulnerabilities in commonly used software. This strategy offers a range of possibilities depending on the security hole exploited. The first malicious code to use this method –and quite successfully- were the BubbleBoy and Kakworm worms. These worms exploited a vulnerability in Internet Explorer by inserting HTML code in the body of the e-mail message, which allowed them to run automatically, without needing the user to do a thing.

Vulnerabilities allow many different types of actions to be carried out. For example, they allow viruses to be dropped on computers directly from the Internet -such as the Blaster worm-. In fact, the effects of the virus depend on the vulnerability that the virus author tries to exploit.
Categories:
Similar Videos

0 commentaires: