Malware: Viruses, Worms and Trojans


Courtesy of

This homework is designed to increase your awareness of malware activities and security issues. Malware, short for malicious software, is any software used to disrupt computer operation, gather sensitive information, or gain access to private computer systems. Malware includes computer viruses, worms, trojan horses, spyware, adware, and other malicious programs.

What to Do

Your task is to watch a few short videos explaining the basics of computer malware, then write a short (one to two pages) report on what you have learned.

Links to videos:

  1. Basics of viruses, worms and Trojans (3 mins)
  2. Cool illustration of viruses, worms and Trojans (3 mins)
  3. More on Trojan viruses (6 mins)
  4. The Stuxnet virus (3 mins)  
  5. The Flame virus (2 mins)
  6. The Zeus Banking Trojan (3 mins)

You will likely encountered technical terms you are unfamiliar with. Look them up to make sure you understand them and use them in the right context in your report. Here are a few guidelines for your report:

  1. Describe the terms virus, worm and Trojan, and highlight their differences.
  2. What is phishing and how does it work?
  3. Describe the main features of each of Stuxnet, Flame and Zeus viruses.
  4. What was the most surprising thing you learned?
  5. What was the most difficult concept for you?


Your report should convince us that you understand how malware operates. It needs not address the issue on what program vulnerabilities they exploit to infect a machine in the first place (just their behavior). The report should be accessible to a broad audience (meaning that it must define the technical terms used).


Hand in a printed copy of your report on the due date of this assignment.