December 10, 2020 in Analysis

Computer Viruses


Nowadays one can hardly meet a person that has never heard of computer viruses. Moreover, these people split into two categories. The first one is individuals, who have never faced with this threat. The second one is people, which computers have faced with the viral attack. Both categories know that computer viruses are dangerous. However, the society overall is not experienced about the number of threats and methods of protection. Consequently, this leads to the gradual growth of quantity of people faced with the deletion of their files, stealing passwords and e-mail boxes and so on. That is why the following paper aims at informing of the nature of the computer virus, classification of their types and principles of their function. In addition, modern threats for the wide and narrow IT communications are characterized. The following study assumes that contemporary computer viruses are a serious danger to the global safety and defence of information. The reason for this is that more and more spheres of human become computer-aided and dependent on different software.

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Reasons to Consider the Issue

There is a tendency for the global mind to connect the spread computer viruses with the computers. Partially, this supposition is true. For instance, Valentis claims that the term computer virus was first employed in academic writing by Fred Cohen in his 1984 article, Experiments with Computer Viruses. However, one presumes that the fundamental environment for any virus is the Internet. This statement can be easily proven by the first incident when they released the first data malicious virus into the web. Thus, Bocij claims that in November 1988, Robert Morris, a postgraduate student at Cornell, released a worm onto the Internet. It is significant to point out that computers were present for decades before this incident. Nonetheless, there was no specific aim of creating malicious software. The reasons for this were comparatively narrow fields of computer application and absence of the means of delivery. Consequently, with the creation of the Internet and the development of the computer sphere some individuals thought that the software may not only assist but harm. The incident with the worm faced the society with the fact that the damages of the virtual space may not stay only there. The reason for this was that specialists asses the damages done by worm vary from $10 million to $100 million. The million dollar losses were the result of the fact that there was no software aimed at the defence of the Internet and the computer systems. Moreover, the released virus was assessed as dangerous because of its intrusion to civil and military computers deleting a broad range of data. Furthermore, the incident with another type of the virus, that is Trojan, led to the damages of hundreds of thousands of machines worldwide. Unlike the worm that aimed just for the destruction of data and automatic self-distribution, the Trojans concept was far more inventive. Following, the ancient Greek legend, the author distributed the software officially as an antivirus software. This led to the fact that the users installed it manually. Furthermore, the virus blocked the operating system from the boot, and in order to restore their files, users were instructed to send a payment of $189 or $378 to an address in Panama belonging to the company called PC Cyborg. Consequently, the assessed risks involving undefended IT systems initiated the processes of the development of cyber security. That is why one may regard the 1980s as a shift in the minds of IT specialists towards the need for the installation of the defence software on the computers worldwide.

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Major Contemporary Threats

The development of the hacking technologies and the growth of programming skills introduce various new approaches to the computer virus existence, function and spreading. For instance, unlike the earlier period of the development of the viral coding with stable, later evolution involves experiments with non-stable codes. Thus, Parikka regards that during the 1990s, such ideas were developed in experimental software that emphasized evolution, mutation, and self-referentiality in the form of floating code, which is not hardware specific but designed for fluent network behavior across systems. Such changes allowed optimizing the functions of a virus in compound and changing network settings endangering the security of the IT infrastructure. Furthermore, the difference in approaches and the experiments led to the fact that the number of viruses grows exponentially. Moreover, some of their contemporary types are completely autonomous.

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Thus, it becomes more and more difficult to control such their changes as code and signature modification and distribution. Specialists estimate that by the end of 2004 it was estimated that there were more than 100,000 viruses inexistence. These changes go along with the capabilities of viruses to use the calculating powers of contemporary hardware. More than that, one of the aspects of malicious functions of such software is exceeding the capabilities of hardware. For instance, the Nimda worm attempts to infect web servers at a rate of around 400 new machines per second, which greatly exceeds the normal rate of connections to new web servers of about one per second or slower. Furthermore, the difference in platforms and digital devices serves an additional factor that influences the nature of various electronic viruses. For instance, the Security Bulletin of the Kaspersky antivirus lab of 2012 indicates that contemporary cyber security threats include such malicious software as mobile malware, malware for Mac,



Thus, viruses and attacks of classical type, such as boot sector viruses, parasitic viruses, macro viruses, worms, and Trojans  have grown more powerful and become capable of attacking different platforms. Moreover, the successful spread of malware on mobile devices allowed viruses to get the bank data of the phones owner. Such software uses techniques typical of ransomware programs: windows opened by the malware cannot be closed without entering the data. One also should indicate the capability of viruses to create botnets, which is a unity of hacked computers that perform online attacks simultaneously. Such malicious networks are capable of disabling any server by exceeding its capabilities of data processing. That is why one of the drawbacks of the development and the spread of the information technologies is their possible exposure to a cyber attack. Therefore, the modern antivirus companies as well as the security departments of many countries develop a broad range of defensive hardware and software measures. Such measures include studies of the signatures of the existing viruses, assessment of the statistics of the attacks and the attacked equipment and its platforms. More than that, there are companies that produce routers capable of detecting a viral attack and assuring the protection of local networks at the hardware level. The described methods aim at resisting the attacks on the IT sectors and assuring the defence of this sphere for citizens, businesses and the national security.

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Summarizing the discussed issue, one may state that the contemporary digital world is full of various cyber threats. The exposure of the first viruses to the global computer networks in the 1980s led to the evolution of their malicious features. Consequently, the first viruses of the worm and Trojan type were followed by the numerous spy and malware. Moreover, the development of the digital electronics and the appearance of new devices opened the way for programmers to create mobile malware. Thus, major contemporary threats are the products of the technological advances and experiments in programming. Such activities led to the evolvement of smartphone and tablet viruses, computer and mobile botnets, malware with the mutating programming code and so on. Moreover, contemporary viruses target a broad range of platforms and operating systems. The pecularities of the attacks show that the mobile based attacks and the attacks using cross-platform exploits dominate among the overall number of cyber threats. Consequentely, computer viruses endanger citizens, businesses and the national security. That is why one has to be aware of the contemporary IT threats and defend ones digital devices accordingly.

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