Computer Viruses vs Network Worms


Computer viruses and network worms are two related and often confusing tech terms. This article clarifies the pressing issues between the two.

The main difference between computer viruses and network worms dependson their mode of spread.

For faster grasping of what forms the kernel of each term, the article takes a moon shot at their intersection point. This entails understanding the nitty-gritty of malware.

Next, you will find out what lies under each of the independent terms. Finally, I shall explicitly tabulate the outstanding differences and everything in between. Let us get started right away.

Understanding the Intersection Between Computer Viruses and Network Worms

The relation between viruses and worms originate from their parent, malware. Malware, an acronym of Malicious Software, is a program that aims to negatively disrupt the intended operation of computer applications.

The programmer targets the files of your computer, destroying hardware, sensitive information, or stealing your confidential details. To achieve these missions, malware exists in various forms.

Examples of malware are viruses, worms, trojans, ransomware, spyware, and adware. Let’s briefly discuss what viruses and worms entail.


A virus is a type of malware that enters a computer’s file system and waits for the action of the files to activate its destructive powers. Meaning?

If you a virus accesses your files now, it will not take any further action until you run a command that affects its location.Taking an action in the files (where it resides) triggers it, enabling it to start spreading.

After getting a good hold of the initial files, it replicates further to infect the nearby data files, programs, and sometimes computer hardware such as the hard drive’s booting sector.

Apart from through files, viruses spread via malicious downloads, programs, documents as well as email attachments. While Spreading, viruses destroy information, steal data, and log keystrokes.


Worms attack a computer in an approach different from viruses. They exploit the weaknesses in an operating system to access the files, programs, and documents.

Once on the computer, they force the computer to conduct primarily undesired actions. The self-replication is not attached to a host file.

This means it lacks direct interaction with computer use. The automatic replication enables it to propagate itself faster than a virus.

The faster self-propagation makes it more dangerous than a virus. The compound effects of worms result in huge data losses to the business.

The aftermath involves overspending on new hardware and other repair costs.  The undesired effects of worms on an enterprise lead to a business halt. This further attracts more revenue losses.

Worse yet, the effects of the malware lead to the destruction of the brand image when the business cannot deliver its promises to clients.

This calls for seeking a remedy to malware. A typical solution is to read review about Norton. What is more?

Extract the outstanding differences and similarities between computer viruses and network worms then take necessary action

Now that you have seen what both types of malware entail, let us see a way forward.

From the two discussions, the key differences are that viruses need user initiation while worms influence the actions of files instead. Both multiply, spread and harm the computer.

To evade the undesired effects, always:

Update your antivirus and firewall.

Update your operating systems

Have malware alerts on to aid faster taking of actions in case of malware attacks.


Viruses and worms share a myriad of features. For example, both are children of malware. They both attack files and aim for harming a human being.

Anti-spyware and anti-malware notice and stop both viruses and worms.

The main difference between the two is that viruses wait for the host file to start as well as spread them whereas worms, on the other hand, force files to start and accomplish an intended action.

The table below gives a summary of everything I have discussed in this article.

Parameter Viruses Worms
initialization Triggered by user Starts automatically
Human significance Humans play a huge role in starting and spreading Once in the file system, spreads without human intervention
Speed Moderate Faster than virus
Intensity of harm Less dangerous than worms, some may be harmless. Huge financial and hardware loss
The main mode of transfer Shared and downloaded files Network connection
Examples of transfer media Computer files, macros, and scripts, emails Emails, internet links, instant messages, FTP servers, and downloads
Detection rate Easy to notice Take longer to realize the signs of infection

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