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Tens of thousands of virus/malware exist, with more being created each day. Although once most common in DOS or Windows, computer viruses today can cause a great amount of damage by exploiting vulnerabilities in corporate networks, email systems and Web sites.

Types of Virus/Malware

  • Joke program: A virus-like program that often manipulates the appearance of things on a computer monitor

  • Trojan horse: An executable program that does not replicate but instead resides on systems to perform malicious acts, such as opening ports for hackers to enter. A Trojan program often uses ports to gain access to computers. An application that claims to rid your computer of viruses when it actually introduces viruses onto your computer is an example of a Trojan program. Traditional antivirus solutions can detect and remove viruses but not Trojans, especially those already running on the system.

  • Virus: A program that replicates. To do so, the virus needs to attach itself to other program files and execute whenever the host program executes.

  • ActiveX malicious code: Code that resides on Web pages that execute ActiveX™ controls

  • Boot sector virus: A virus that infects the boot sector of a partition or a disk

  • COM and EXE file infector: An executable program with .com or .exe extension

  • Java malicious code: Operating system-independent virus code written or embedded in Java™

  • Macro virus: A virus encoded as an application macro and often included in a document

  • VBScript, JavaScript or HTML virus: A virus that resides on Web pages and downloaded through a browser

  • Worm: A self-contained program or set of programs able to spread functional copies of itself or its segments to other computer systems, often through email

  • Test virus: An inert file that acts like a real virus and is detectable by virus-scanning software. Use test viruses, such as the EICAR test script, to verify that your antivirus installation scans properly.

  • Packer: A compressed and/or encrypted Windows or Linux™ executable program, often a Trojan horse program. Compressing executables makes packer more difficult for antivirus products to detect.