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What is the difference between viruses and worms?

Viruses are computer programs that are designed to spread themselves from one file to another on a single computer. A virus might rapidly infect every application file on an individual computer, or slowly infect the documents on that computer, but it does not intentionally try to spread itself from that computer to other computers. In most cases, that's where humans come in. We send e-mail document attachments, trade programs on diskettes, or copy files to file servers. When the next unsuspecting user receives the infected file or disk, they spread the virus to their computer, and so on.

Worms, on the other hand, are insidious because they rely less (or not at all) upon human behavior in order to spread themselves from one computer to others. The computer worm is a program that is designed to copy itself from one computer to another over a network (e.g. by using e-mail). The worm spreads itself to many computers over a network, and doesn't wait for a human being to help. This means that computer worms spread much more rapidly than computer viruses.

How do I avoid viruses/worms?

  1. Download College provided anti-virus software
  2. Avoid P2P
  3. Don't open an e-mail attachment unless you trust the source.
  4. Don’t click links in e-mail unless you trust the source.
  5. Don’t accept links from unknown IM users.
  6. Don’t accept images/files from unknown IM users.
  7. Don't enter personal information into any Web site that is not considered “reputable” or secure.

What should I do if my computer becomes infected?

Contact the HelpDesk – or ext 2660

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The College of New Jersey

2000 Pennington Road

P. O. Box 7718

Ewing, NJ 08628

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