In a computer, a worm is a self-replicating virus that does not alter files but resides in active memory and duplicates itself. Worms use parts of an operating system that are automatic and usually invisible to the user. It is common for worms to be noticed only when their uncontrolled replication consumes system resources, slowing or halting other tasks.
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This term is not to be confused with WORM (write once, read many).
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- "Learn IT: Viruses and Other Malware - Detection, Prevention, and Cure" has more in-depth information.