Damage Caused by Computer Worms


Computer viruses affect us on an everyday basis. Because of them, we have had to develop and use antivirus protection software and create other ways to protect ourselves from these annoyances. Sometimes, there is a computer virus that is so powerful and well executed that it punctures our defenses. These bigger viruses are usually labeled "computer worms."

Massive Email Chain

  • Some computer worms will wiggle their way into your web cache files and obtain your email address or even entice you to open certain email by offering "alluring subject matter." From there, the worm is free to use your entire email contact list to spread itself. The Storm was a virus that exploited email in this way (see link in References).

File Deletion

  • File deletion and disabling can be a huge issue. There have been several worms that have attacked computers in this way. These worms infiltrate your computer and then overwrite files with certain extensions, such as EXE, JPEG and many other extension types. If you have a hard drive loaded with pictures or programs, these viruses can succeed in completely overwriting all your files. The Conficker Worm was an example of a "file deletion and file disabling" type of worm (see link in References).

Stolen Information

  • Stolen information is a serious threat often associated with worms and malicious viruses. The ability to steal information can come in many different virus types and the way they infect a computer can come in many different types and styles. The type of information stolen can range from something small like an email address or a password to a game, to huge threats like stolen Social Security numbers or stolen passwords to websites like bank accounts and workplaces. Because the Internet is so popular, people are relying on it more often to do different types of chores, such as ordering holiday gifts.


  • Lockouts can be serious if the infected computer is of dire importance. You may have password locks on your computers and log in by typing in your password each time. Some viruses may have the capability to discover these passwords and change them without your notice. This can cause a computer "lockout" as you will not be able to log in properly. While your computer is locked out, it can make it easy for a hacker or a virus creator to access your computer.

Mass Hysteria

  • Mass hysteria and world panic are something that can be associated with computer worms, especially if the worms infect computers quickly and go unnoticed. An example of such a worm was the Morris Worm, (see link in References). The Morris Worm at one point was responsible for literally shutting down the Internet for a few days. Imagine a world now where access to the Internet was destroyed all over the world for a few days. Many businesses may completely fall apart without the help of the Internet.

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