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Name: Paul
Status: other
Grade: 12+
Location: IL
Country: USA
Date: May 2, 2011 


Question:
What is a Computer Virus? What do viruses do? How do viruses Spread? How do I prevent a virus? What are Trojan Horse programs? Malware? Phishing?



Replies:
Paul

From National Institute of Science and Technology Which is the US government office in charge of this problem and should be your reference for this subject At this URL:

http://csrc.nist.gov/publications/nistpubs/800-61-rev1/SP800-61rev1.pdf

Please find the following definitions from paragraph 5:

5.1.1 Virus: A virus is designed to self-replicate-make copies of itself-and distribute the copies to other files, programs, or computers. Viruses insert themselves into host programs and propagate when the infected program is executed, generally by user interaction (e.g., opening a file, running a program, clicking on a file attachment). Viruses have many purposes-some are designed to play annoying tricks, whereas others have destructive intent. Some viruses present themselves as jokes while performing secret destructive functions. There two major types of viruses are compiled viruses, which are executed by the operating system, and interpreted viruses, which are executed by an application.

5.1.3 Trojan Horse

Named after the wooden horse from Greek mythology, Trojan horses are non-replicating programs that appear to be benign but actually have a hidden malicious purpose. Some Trojan horses are intended to replace existing files with malicious versions, whereas other Trojan horses add another application to a system without overwriting existing files. Trojan horses are often difficult to detect because they appear to be performing a useful function.

Malware is a broad term for software (programs and scripts) that have malicious intent and is not specifically addressed in this pub. But Viruses, Trojans, and Key-loggers are just examples of Malware. Section 5.1.8 gives you an idea of what malware refers to.

In paragraph 5.1.8, page 5-6, please find this definition of phishing: Phishing refers to use of deceptive computer-based means to trick individuals into disclosing sensitive personal information. To perform a phishing attack, an attacker creates a Web site or e-mail that looks as if it is from a well-known organization, such as an online business, credit card company, or financial institution. The fraudulent e-mails and Web sites are intended to deceive users into disclosing personal data, usually financial information. For example, phishers might seek usernames and passwords for online banking sites, as well as bank account numbers.

You can find "anything else" in the document.

Best of luck in helping us standardize and understand these problems.

Sincerest regards, Mike Stewart



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