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Hacking the Hacker by Roger A. Grimes

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9Malware

When I first started in computer security back in 1987, it was malicious programs (malware) that first caught my eye. The first computer viruses (for example Apple’s Elk Cloner and Pakistani Brain) were just showing up, although Trojans and worms had been around longer. Computer viruses were so unknown and almost rare that popular media pundits declared them to be hoaxes. That was until entire companies were taken down by them, and this was before the Internet was the Internet. Back then, computer malware spread via phone dial‐up bulletin boards and hand‐to‐hand as people copied each other’s software (both legally and illegally). Malware is still one of the most popular hacking methods.

Malware Types

The traditional types of malware are virus, worm, and Trojan horse. A computer virus is a self‐replicating program that when executed goes around looking for other programs (or sometimes, as with macro viruses, data) to infect. A computer worm is a replicating program that doesn’t usually modify other programs or data. It simply travels around on devices and networks using its own coded instructions, often exploiting one or more software vulnerabilities. A Trojan horse program masquerades as ...

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