Malware comes of age

Tuesday, 18 January 2005, 12:11 AM EST

Malware, like a virus, is definitely a parasite, but is it a successful one? There are three characteristics that demonstrate success in a parasite: its ability to spread rapidly and effectively; its ability to infiltrate a host's defences and avoid rapid destruction; and its ability to extract valuable resources from its host.

With the development of the macro virus, the mass-mailing virus and, more recently, infections that do not require an email to be opened, malware has shown its ability to spread rapidly and effectively. Malware has also developed the ability to mutate using polymorphic techniques in order to attempt to evade antivirus programs.

Dr Jeremy Ward at vnunet.

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