lets try and clear the confusion

Discussion in 'Computer Security' started by Martin Spencer-Ford, Feb 8, 2006.

  1. During my time bouncing around some of these security newsgroups I read so
    many comments about how my virus scanner didn't find this or SpyBot didn't
    catch that so lets see if we can help the confused by using definitions that
    hopefully will help them to help themselves, and understand the subject
    material a little better.

    A virus is any of software malicious, amusing or benign that can reproduce
    itself and attach to other files thus causing an infection, and helping to
    bind the name virus with real life micro organisms that cause other animals
    to become infectious.

    A Trojan is a gift that contains a malicious hidden intent, its name derived
    from the Trojan Horse and the problems associated with Helen of Troy, where
    the free gift concealed an army to take over the oppositions stronghold. Now
    a Trojan may deliver a virus as its hidden content, but that does mean the
    Trojan is a virus as it cannot replicate itself and infect other files or
    systems, in effect it can only ever be a catalyst for a virus, or any other
    form of Malware.

    Spy-Ware is exactly what it says it is - software that spies on your
    activities whether that be what web sites you visit through to what letters
    you type in at the keyboard, what adverts if any you actually ever respond
    to, snooping the system for usernames, email addresses contact lists and
    other such details as banking are all under the guise of Spy-Ware. Again
    they are not generally a virus, as they don't replicate nor infect, however
    it would be very possible to create a virus that could both spy and relay
    data and replicate.

    Ad-ware again is precisely what it says, a routine delivered to your
    computer either by a Trojan or by whatever means, but they do nothing more
    than generate ads for your pleasure all day every day until you hoof them
    out. Some are nice and friendly and allow you to remove them via add/remove
    programs, others are very surreptitious and require more effort to leverage
    them out. Again Ad-Ware is not a virus, it cant replicate nor infect other
    files, although again it is possible to develop a virus to deliver the same
    task, but then the infection would be a virus and not Ad-Ware by definition.

    To conclude

    Use an anti virus tool to trap a viral infection and attempt a cure
    Use an anti Ad-Ware product to remove the advert generators on your system
    .... if any
    Use an anti Spy-Ware tool to remove the tools that spy on your system
    Use an anti Trojan scanner to detect and remove Trojans

    Do not presume that your anti virus product can remove all Trojans, don't
    think it will remove spy ware nor Ad-Ware, use the tools for the job at
    Martin Spencer-Ford, Feb 8, 2006
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  2. Probably the worst choice of name ever... now everybody blames the poor
    Trojans, even though they were the victims :)

    Technically, the malware should be called "Greek Horse"

    Juergen Nieveler
    Juergen Nieveler, Feb 8, 2006
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  3. Martin Spencer-Ford

    nemo_outis Guest

    Timeo Danaos ac dona ferentes.


    PS And, yes, I know this fragment of Virgil is more often quoted with et
    than ac - and don't get me started on ferentes/ferentis :)
    nemo_outis, Feb 9, 2006
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