Threats defined

Virus — Viruses attach to another object to replicate. Some viruses attach to files and become active when the file opens, while others reside in memory and infect files as the computer opens, modifies or creates files.

Worm — Various worms exist, but recent examples such as Sasser penetrate systems

via remotely exploitable vulnerabilities.

This form does not require user action to


Trojan — A Trojan program causes damage or unwanted system behavior but does not replicate.

Bot software — Bot software searches for vulnerabilities to infect a computer and then allows the infected systems to be remotely controlled. Bots have worm and Trojan characteristics.

Spyware — A spyware program monitors system activity, typically without a user's consent and knowledge. More malicious types may uncover passwords or personal information.

Blended/hybrid threat — These attacks combine the hallmarks of different threats, such as Trojans, viruses and worms.

Malware — Malware is a catchall term for programs with bad intentions.

Sources: Computer Associates International Inc., F-Secure Corp.,

Network Associates Technology Inc. and Symantec Corp.

FCW in Print

In the latest issue: Looking back on three decades of big stories in federal IT.


  • Anne Rung -- Commerce Department Photo

    Exit interview with Anne Rung

    The government's departing top acquisition official said she leaves behind a solid foundation on which to build more effective and efficient federal IT.

  • Charles Phalen

    Administration appoints first head of NBIB

    The National Background Investigations Bureau announced the appointment of its first director as the agency prepares to take over processing government background checks.

  • Sen. James Lankford (R-Okla.)

    Senator: Rigid hiring process pushes millennials from federal work

    Sen. James Lankford (R-Okla.) said agencies are missing out on younger workers because of the government's rigidity, particularly its protracted hiring process.

  • FCW @ 30 GPS

    FCW @ 30

    Since 1987, FCW has covered it all -- the major contracts, the disruptive technologies, the picayune scandals and the many, many people who make federal IT function. Here's a look back at six of the most significant stories.

  • Shutterstock image.

    A 'minibus' appropriations package could be in the cards

    A short-term funding bill is expected by Sept. 30 to keep the federal government operating through early December, but after that the options get more complicated.

  • Defense Secretary Ash Carter speaks at the TechCrunch Disrupt conference in San Francisco

    DOD launches new tech hub in Austin

    The DOD is opening a new Defense Innovation Unit Experimental office in Austin, Texas, while Congress debates legislation that could defund DIUx.

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