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ARCHIVE: 'Phage List' - Archives (1988 - 1989)
DOCUMENT: phage #231 [Let's get the name correct] (1 message, 910 bytes)
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From: "Ralph E. Droms" <>
To: phage
Date: Mon 21:04:35 07/11/1988 EST
Subject: Let's get the name correct
References: [Thread Prev: 111] [Thread Next: 140] [Message Prev: 133] [Message Next: 142]

Spaf -

You wrote:

   A worm is a program that can run by itself and can propagate a fully
   working version of itself to other machines.

   A virus is a piece of code that adds itself to other programs,
   including operating systems.  It cannot run independently, but rather
   requires that its "host" program be run to activate it.

I think that this program actually exhibits some features of both
virus and worm.  On the one hand, the program does run as an
independent replica of itself on infected machines.  On the other
hand, the program exploits existing programs, and cannot independently
infect a new machine (sendmail or fingerd have to be running).
Looking again to the biology analogy, the fingerd mechanism seems
quite virus-like, in that an existing process (cell) is taken over by
a new program (DNA) injected by the virus.

Spaf, I can understand you're desire to see the right term applied.
I've never gotten over the misuse of "microcode" to mean "machine
instructions for an 8080 CPU".  I would guess the virus appellation
was originally attached because of the program's percieved malicious
nature and because the term virus has gotten so much play recently...

- Ralph Droms
  Bucknell University
  Lewisburg, PA 17837
  (717) 524-1145