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What's the Difference Between Malware, Computer Viruses, and Worms? – MUO – MakeUseOf

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You’ve heard of malware, worms, and viruses, but what do those terms actually mean? How do worms and viruses damage your devices?
Malware, computer viruses, worms: these are some of the core terms that cause fear and panic. We're always told to steer clear of dubious sites and downloads because getting a nasty computer bug can result in a host of disastrous outcomes; you can have your data erased or even leaked to the internet!
While there are numerous computer threats out there in the world, malware, viruses, and worms are the ones that we talk about more often. So what actually are they? What are the differences between them?
The first computer viruses weren't threats like today; they were experiments during the early days of computer technology. Back in 1971, an engineer at the technology company BBN Technologies developed a program that could self-replicate called "Creeper."
This program was made to jump from different DEC PDP-10 machines running the Tenex operating system. Creeper would travel from computer to computer using the ARPANET and would display the message "I’M THE CREEPER: CATCH ME IF YOU CAN."
It would replicate itself as it jumped to the next computer and attempt to delete itself from the previous one. Aside from being a minor inconvenience (and rather creepy), Creeper did not cause any harm to the systems.
Related: What are Macro Viruses? Can Windows Defender Protect You From Them?
We typically refer to malware, viruses, and worms as different entities, but here's the deal: malware is an umbrella term. Malware refers to any type of malicious software that's meant to wreak havoc on computers. This means that viruses and worms are different categories of malware.
This means that the first computer viruses technically can't be called malware because they were just harmless experiments. Even the 1986 virus called "Brain" isn't malware, though it was the first to spread worldwide.
There are a lot of different types of malware and you may have heard of some of them. Trojans, ransomware, spyware, adware, scareware: the list goes on. There are even different types of malware that attack Android phones.
This leaves us with viruses and worms. How are these two bits of sinister software different, and which one is the lesser of the two evils?
Even though malware encompasses a wide variety of bad software, we tend to think of viruses as the umbrella term. We call any bit of malicious software that invades our computers a virus, but viruses have their own idiosyncrasies that make them uniquely terrible.
One of the main identifying factors with viruses is their ability to self-replicate; this is what made Creeper a virus. Much like biological viruses, computer viruses need to find a host to attach themselves to. They arrive on the computer attached to files, then find other files to infect.
A virus is activated when the user opens an infected document or runs an infected EXE file. Once the file is opened, the virus gets to work infecting other files and documents.
Related: The Most Notorious Malware Attacks of All Time
Worms are very similar to viruses in that they are capable of self-replicating; however, there are a few differences. Worms are more self-efficient than viruses. Worms, unlike viruses, don't need host files to attach to. They are standalone programs that act on their own.
After a worm finds its spot on the hard drive or SSD, it can start making copies of its own accord. Instead of spreading from file to file, worms just make standalone copies of themselves.
Now that we know what makes viruses and worms different, let's talk about what makes them deadly. When someone (i.e. the hacker) plants unwanted software on your computer, it puts a lot of power in their hands, making them a puppet master to your device. Viruses and worms, when activated, can do some major damage to the user on many levels.
They can cause your computer to become uncharacteristically slow, but that's on the less severe side of the spectrum. Since these programs multiply en masse, they start to take up more and more drive space. On older computers, some viruses would actually inflate files so much that the system was unable to even open them.
It gets worse, as viruses and worms can initiate unwanted actions on your computer. They can install programs, cause pop-ups throughout your system, even send emails to people from your email address to infect other computers.
Getting to the more serious effects, your personal data can be a virtual buffet to a virus or worm. Since the hacker has their fingers in your system, they can have access to any kind of information they want. They'll be able to steal information like passwords, addresses, and banking information.
If that isn't scary enough, viruses and worms can also stay there and just cause damage to or modify your system files. Much like rogue Minecraft players who destroy other people's servers, viruses and worms can change or delete files on your system. You can easily log on one day and find important files and programs missing.
Having a virus can turn your entire world upside down depending on what you have on your computer, what type of virus or worm you get, and how the hacker wishes to ravage your data. Related: What You Need to Know About the Dridex Trojan Horse
Having any sort of malware attack is scary business. According to Clario, malware like ILOVEYOU and Sobig.F both caused billions of dollars in damages. It's imperative you avoid getting infected with any sort of malware, but how do you go about doing that? Here are some basic security tips.
Whether it's a virus or a worm, it's still malware. Let's face it, there are always going to be bad people who want to watch the world burn, and sometimes, they target your computers. This is why it's important to know what these terms mean and what makes them different.
Sometimes, a bit of knowledge can mean a world of safety.
Arthur is a tech journalist and musician living in America. He has been in the industry for nearly a decade, having written for online publications such as Android Headlines. He has a deep knowledge of Android and ChromeOS. Along with writing informational articles, he is also adept at reporting tech news.
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Why Was Sam Altman Fired? Possible Ties to China D2 (Double Dragon) Data from Hackers

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Theories are going around the internet why Sam Altman was fired. On an insider tech forum (Blind) – one person claims to know by third-hand account and how this news will trickle into the media over the next couple of weeks.

It’s said OpenAI had been using data from D2 to train its AI models, which includes GPT-4. This data was obtained through a hidden business contract with a D2 shell company called Whitefly, which was based in Singapore. This D2 group has the largest and biggest crawling/indexing/scanning capacity in the world 10x more than Alphabet Inc (Google), hence the deal so Open AI could get their hands on vast quantities of data for training after exhausting their other options.

The Chinese government became aware of this arrangement and raised concerns with the Biden administration. As a result, the NSA launched an investigation, which confirmed that OpenAI had been using data from D2. Satya Nadella, the CEO of Microsoft, which is a major investor in OpenAI, was informed of the findings and ordered Altman’s removal.

There was also suggestion that Altman refused to disclose this information to the OpenAI board. This lack of candor ultimately led to his dismissal and is what the board publicly alluded to when they said “not consistently candid in his communications with the board.”

To summarize what happened with Sam Altman’s firing:

1. Sam Altman was removed from OpenAI due to his ties to a Chinese cyber army group.

2.OpenAI had been using data from D2 to train its AI models.

3. The Chinese government raised concerns about this arrangement with the Biden administration.

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4. The NSA launched an investigation, which confirmed OpenAI’s use of D2 data.

5. Satya Nadella ordered Altman’s removal after being informed of the findings.

6. Altman refused to disclose this information to the OpenAI board.

 

We’ll see in the next couple of weeks if this story holds up or not.

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Cyber Security

AMAZON says cloud operating normally after outage left publishers unable to operate websites…

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AMAZON says cloud operating normally after outage left publishers unable to operate websites…

SEATTLE (AP) — Amazon’s cloud computing unit Amazon Web Services experienced an outage on Tuesday, affecting publishers that suddenly found themselves unable to operate their sites.

The company said on its website that the root cause of the issue was tied to a service called AWS Lambda, which lets customers run code for different types of applications.

Roughly two hours after customers began experiencing errors, the company posted on its AWS status page that many of the affected AWS services were “fully recovered” and it was continuing to recover the rest. Soon after 6:30 pm E.T., the company announced all AWS services were operating normally.

Amazon said it had experienced multiple error rates for AWS services in the Northern Virginia region where it clusters data centers. The company said customers may be dealing with authentication or sign-in errors when using some AWS services, and experiencing challenges when attempting to connect with AWS Support. The issue with Lambda also indirectly affected other AWS services.

Patrick Neighorn, a company spokesperson, declined to provide additional details about the outage.

AWS is the market leader in the cloud arena, and its customers include some of the world’s biggest businesses and organizations, such as Netflix, Coca-Cola and government agencies.

Tuesday’s outage was first confirmed shortly after 3 p.m. ET. and it was unclear how widespread the problem extended. But many companies, including news organizations such as The Verge and Penn Live, said they were experiencing issues. The Associated Press was also hampered by the outage, unable to operate their sites amid breaking news that former President Donald Trump was appearing in court in Miami.

Morgan Durrant, a spokesperson for Delta Air Lines, said the company experienced “some slowing of inbound calls for some minutes” on Tuesday afternoon. But he said the outage did not impact bookings, flights or other airport operations.

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The episode on Tuesday is reminiscent of a much longer AWS outage in December 2021, which affected a host of U.S. companies for more than five hours.

The outage comes as Amazon is holding a two-day security conference in Anaheim, California to tout its cloud offerings to its clients or other companies that might be interested in storing their data on its vast network of servers around the world. Companies have been cutting back their spending on the unit, causing growth to slow during the most recent quarter.

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Twitter: Parts of its source code leaked online

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Twitter: Parts of its source code leaked online

NEW YORK (AP) — Some parts of Twitter’s source code — the fundamental computer code on which the social network runs — were leaked online, the social media company said in a legal filing that was first reported by The New York Times.

According to the legal document, first filed with the U.S. District Court of the Northern District of California on Friday, Twitter had asked GitHub, an internet hosting service for software development, to take down the code where it was posted. The platform complied and said the content had been disabled, according to the filing.

Twitter, based in San Francisco, noted in the filing that the postings infringe on copyrights held by Twitter.

The company also asked the court to identify the alleged individual or group that posted the information without Twitter’s authorization. It’s seeking names, addresses, phone numbers, email addresses, social media profile data and IP addresses associated with the user account “FreeSpeechEnthusiast” which is suspected of being behind the leak. The name is an apparent reference to Twitter’s billionaire owner, Elon Musk, who described himself as a free speech absolutist.

It is difficult to know if the leak poses an immediate cybersecurity risk for users, said Lukasz OIejnik, an independent cybersecurity researcher and consultant, but he did say that breach underscores internal turbulence at the company.

“While this is the internal source code, including internal tools, the biggest immediate risk seems to be reputational,” Olejnik said “It highlights the broader problem of Big Tech, which is insider risk,” and could undermine trust between Twitter’s employees or internal teams, he said.

Musk had promised earlier this month that Twitter would open source all the code used to recommend tweets on March 31, saying that people “will discover many silly things, but we’ll patch issues as soon as they’re found!” He added that being transparent about Twitter’s code will be “incredibly embarrassing at first” but will result in “rapid improvement in recommendation quality.”

The leak creates another challenge for Musk, who bought Twitter in October for $44 billion and took the company private. Twitter has since been engulfed in chaos, with massive layoffs and an exodus of advertisers fearful of exposure on the platform to looser rules on potentially inflammatory posts.

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Meanwhile, the Federal Trade Commission is probing Musk’s mass layoffs at Twitter and trying to obtain his internal communications as part of ongoing oversight into the social media company’s privacy and cybersecurity practices, according to documents described in a congressional report.

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Kelvin Chan in London contributed to this report from London.

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