Standard Grade Computing Studies Commercial Data Processing

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					            Higher Grade Computing Studies
                8. Supporting Software
Software Compatibility

• Whether you are doing a fresh installation of or
upgrading from a previous piece of software, checking
your hardware and software for compatibility is a must.
• The main factors to consider are:
    • Memory requirements – How much RAM do I need?
    • Storage requirements – Do my application programs
    generate large files?
    • Operating System – Will an application run on an older
    OS?
                                     Higher Computing
                                     Computer Systems
1                                       S. McCrossan
             Higher Grade Computing Studies
                 8. Supporting Software
Viruses

• A virus is a programming code that causes some
undesirable and unexpected event to happen in a
computer.
• Viruses can be quite harmful and erase data or close down a
system.




                                      Higher Computing
                                      Computer Systems
2                                        S. McCrossan
             Higher Grade Computing Studies
                 8. Supporting Software
Viruses

• A virus is a programming code that causes some
undesirable and unexpected event to happen in a
computer.
• Viruses can be quite harmful and erase data or close down a
system.




                                      Higher Computing
                                      Computer Systems
3                                        S. McCrossan
               Higher Grade Computing Studies
                   8. Supporting Software
File Viruses

• File viruses attach themselves to program files such as
.exe or .com files. When the program is loaded, the virus
is also loaded.
• A file viruses can also take the form of a complete program,
or script, attached to something else, e.g. an e-mail.




                                       Higher Computing
                                       Computer Systems
4                                         S. McCrossan
              Higher Grade Computing Studies
                  8. Supporting Software
Boot Sector Viruses

• These viruses infect executable code found in certain
system areas on a disk.

• They attach to the boot sector on disks or the master
boot record on hard disks.

• To infiltrate the boot sector, the virus is read while the
system is running and then activated the next time the
operating system is loaded.

                                          Higher Computing
                                          Computer Systems
5                                            S. McCrossan
             Higher Grade Computing Studies
                 8. Supporting Software
Macro Viruses

• Macro viruses infect applications and typically cause a
sequence of actions within the application e.g. inserting
unwanted words or phrases in a document.




                                      Higher Computing
                                      Computer Systems
6                                        S. McCrossan
             Higher Grade Computing Studies
                 8. Supporting Software
Virus Code Actions - Replication

• A computer virus has the unique ability to replicate.
Like a biological virus they can spread quickly and can
be difficult to control.

• They can attach themselves to almost any type of file
and spread as files are copied and sent between computer
users. A virus can take a long time to replicate itself
before activation. This gives it time to be spread over
many computers before being discovered.

                                      Higher Computing
                                      Computer Systems
7                                        S. McCrossan
             Higher Grade Computing Studies
                 8. Supporting Software
Virus Code Actions - Camouflage

• It is possible for a virus to avoid detection by taking on
the characteristics that detection software is programmed
to look for and ignore.




                                        Higher Computing
                                        Computer Systems
8                                           S. McCrossan
             Higher Grade Computing Studies
                 8. Supporting Software
Virus Code Actions - Watching

• A virus can lie in wait and ambush a computer when
something routine is carried out e.g. opening a particular
application.

• The damage routines will activate when certain
conditions are met, e.g. on a certain date, or when the
infected user performs a particular action may trigger the
virus.


                                       Higher Computing
                                       Computer Systems
9                                         S. McCrossan
             Higher Grade Computing Studies
                 8. Supporting Software
Virus Code Actions - Delivery

• Infected disks brought in from the outside used to be
the main source of viruses until e-mail provided the ideal
delivery vehicle.




                                       Higher Computing
                                       Computer Systems
10                                        S. McCrossan
             Higher Grade Computing Studies
                 8. Supporting Software
WORMs

• A worm is a self-replicating virus that does not alter
any files but takes up residence in the computer's active
memory and duplicates itself.

• They only become noticeable once their replication
consumes the memory to the extent that the system slows
down or is unable to carry out particular tasks. Worms
tend to use the parts of the computer's operating system
that is not seen by the user until it is too late.

                                       Higher Computing
                                       Computer Systems
11                                        S. McCrossan
            Higher Grade Computing Studies
                8. Supporting Software
Trojan Horse

• A Trojan horse is a program where harmful code is
contained inside another code which can appear to be
harmless. Once the apparently harmless code is in the
computer, it releases the malicious code to do its
damage. Trojan horses may even claim to be anti-virus in
order to get the user to install it.




                                     Higher Computing
                                     Computer Systems
12                                      S. McCrossan
            Higher Grade Computing Studies
                8. Supporting Software
Anti-virus Techniques

• Anti-virus software can screen e-mail attachments,
Web downloads, and checks all of your files from time-
to time removing any viruses that are found. Techniques
used by anti-virus software to detect a virus include:




                                      Higher Computing
                                      Computer Systems
13                                       S. McCrossan
             Higher Grade Computing Studies
                 8. Supporting Software
Anti-virus Techniques - Checksum

• This technique involves adding together the numeric values
contained in the file. A calculation (checksum) is carried out
on this total and it is placed as a 16-bit number at the end of
the block. The receiver of the data performs the same
calculation on the data and compares its checksum with the
transmitted checksum. If they match, data transfer successful.
If not, there is a possibility that the file is infected.



                                       Higher Computing
                                       Computer Systems
14                                        S. McCrossan
             Higher Grade Computing Studies
                 8. Supporting Software
Anti-virus Techniques – Virus Signatures

• A virus signature is a unique pattern of bits within a virus.
It can be used to detect and identify specific viruses.

• Once known, the anti-virus software uses the virus signature
to scan for the presence of malicious code and removes it.




                                       Higher Computing
                                       Computer Systems
15                                         S. McCrossan
             Higher Grade Computing Studies
                 8. Supporting Software
Anti-virus Techniques – Heuristic Detection

• Heuristic techniques work on the probabilities of a file being
infected i.e. it will give a percentage likelihood of a file being
infected by weighing up the file behaviour.

• For example, if a file attempts to access your address book
then that might be suspicious. If the same file includes code
that checks a date, then the suspicion rises. There will come a
point when a warning is issued on the possibility of a virus.


                                         Higher Computing
                                         Computer Systems
16                                          S. McCrossan
             Higher Grade Computing Studies
                 8. Supporting Software
Anti-virus Techniques – Memory Resident Monitoring

• Some anti-virus software is memory resident and is loaded
on start up. It actively monitors the system for viruses whilst
the computer is switched on and checks programs for
infection every time they run.

• The price to be paid with memory resident programs is that
they can cause delays in program loading and execution
whilst the checks are being carried out.


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17                                        S. McCrossan

				
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