Operating system and network security do find an intersection point somewhere down the line, and that is at threat agents, many of which find their way to systems through the internet. There are many different kinds of threat agents in software security, five of the most important ones of which are discussed in the following. Along with that is an explanation of how they operate and damage a system.
Threat Agents in Software Security
Viruses: A virus is a piece of code that attaches itself to an executable or host file and rearranges information in the file so as to run itself when the file is run. They are self-replicating and some of them possess the ability to ‘lie in wait’ so as to avoid detection even after they have started to cause any damage. Some viruses, such as boot sector viruses, are a lot more potent than others as they target the very first sector that is loaded into the system upon startup.
Worms: A worm works much like a virus, with the difference being that it does not require a host file to attach itself to. Some worms keep on replicating themselves to the point that they use up all of the resources of the affected system.
Trojans: Named after the infamous Trojan Horse, a Trojan works in a very similar manner, in that it offers a service that most of the users would find useful, and then uses that as a way into the user’s system and perform malicious activities. It may or may not provide the promised service to the users.
Logic Bombs: A logic bomb does not activate until and unless certain conditions are met. This means that they stay dormant for as long as the conditions are not met, which could be in terms of a certain date or time, a countdown reaching completion, or some internal state being reached by the machine.
Bots: A Bot is a device controlled by a script that helps it direct traffic to a certain location. A network of these devices – called a ‘Botnet’ – can be used to launch a ‘Denial of Service’ or ‘DoS’ attack or to barrage a system with requests, possibly using different combinations of passwords until one of them works out.