Difference between virus and worm in Tabular Form: Worm vs virus



Computer Worms are the computer programs that uses the network to send multiple copies of themselves to other computers within the network. They utilize a security hole of a network to travel from one host to other without the intervention of the user. Since worms can spread so rapidly over a network, infecting every computer in their path, they are one of the most common types of malware. The way Worms spreads is by exploiting vulnerabilities in Operating systems. The worms are often mistaken with viruses. But there’s a difference between virus and worm.

first computer worm "morrison worm"

The term “worm” was first used in “The Shockwave Rider” novel by John Brunner. In that novel, Haflinger designs and sets off a worm to gather data as an act of revenge against powerful men. The first computer worm was unleashed by Robert Tappan Morris, a computer science graduate from Cornell University. “Morris worm” named after himself was responsible for infecting a large number of computer in the network and then internet.


Most worms are spread as files attachments, via links to a website or FTP. Some worms even spread as network packets. These worms penetrate the memory of a computer and the worm code is activated. Worms use special techniques such as social engineering, exploiting network holes etc to penetrate remote computers.


A Virus is a computer program that makes copies of itself and harms the computer in different ways. It has become the villain of the computer and cyberspace. Unlike worms, viruses cannot propagates itself. It needs user’s intervention to transfer from one host to another. Like for instance while copying files from infected computer to another healthy computer, the virus gets attached with the file and get’s transferred along with the file.

difference between virus and worm

Difference between Virus and worm in Tabular Form

Virus Worm
A virus is a self-replicating computer program which infects computer files and programs Worm is a self-propagating computer program that transfers through a computer network.
It cannot propagate itself Worm has the ability to propagate through the network.
Jon Von Neumann’s design for a self-reproducing program is considered as the world’s first computer virus. “Morris worm” is the first computer worm.
Virus doesn’t affect Network. Worm affects the network’s bandwidth while transferring through the network.
C-Brain, Mac mag, Cascade etc are the example of famous viruses. ILOVEYOU, Michelangelo, and MS blast are the examples of Worms.
Virus modifies the code Worm doesn’t modify the code.
Virus can infect files. Worm usually occupies memory space and the bandwidth of the computer network.


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