Browse Definitions :
Definition

friendly virus

Contributor(s): Ivy Wigmore

A friendly virus is malware that is designed to be helpful in some way rather than destructive or annoying, as is typically the case with conventional viruses. A friendly virus might, for example, patch vulnerabilities but otherwise behave in similar ways to other viruses, accessing targets without user consent or awareness and carrying out its agenda surreptitiously.

Friendly viruses are often disseminated by cyber vigilantes who see a need for greater security in some system that is not being adequately protected by conventional measures. Friendly viruses and ethical worms have included malware designed to address vulnerabilities in various systems including internet of things (IoT) devices and environments and industrial control systems (ICS) as well as computing platforms and operating systems.

The concern of security vigilantes is well-founded. Throughout the history of computer technology, security has too often been an afterthought. However, there are a number of concerns with even the best-intentioned and most effective ethical malware. Even if they propagate flawlessly and install patches effectively, ethical worms could close a security hole that a particular application needs in order to function properly.

Examples of friendly viruses include: Wifatch, an ethical worm designed to harden Linux-based routers by shutting down potentially vulnerable Telnet ports and prompting users to change passwords, and the Hajime IoT worm, which disables default ports on IoT devices but leaves behind some of its functionality, which could be exploited by a less ethical hacker.

The friendly virus term came to security from medicine, where they have been found to infest and eliminate potentially harmful bacteria.

This was last updated in December 2018

Continue Reading About friendly virus

Start the conversation

Send me notifications when other members comment.

Please create a username to comment.

-ADS BY GOOGLE

File Extensions and File Formats

SearchCompliance

  • compliance audit

    A compliance audit is a comprehensive review of an organization's adherence to regulatory guidelines.

  • regulatory compliance

    Regulatory compliance is an organization's adherence to laws, regulations, guidelines and specifications relevant to its business...

  • Whistleblower Protection Act

    The Whistleblower Protection Act of 1989 is a law that protects federal government employees in the United States from ...

SearchSecurity

  • brute force attack

    Brute force (also known as brute force cracking) is a trial and error method used by application programs to decode encrypted ...

  • spyware

    Spyware is software that is installed on a computing device without the user's knowledge. Spyware can be difficult to detect; ...

  • ATM black box attack

    An ATM black box attack, also referred to as jackpotting, is a type of banking-system crime in which the perpetrators bore holes ...

SearchHealthIT

SearchDisasterRecovery

  • business continuity and disaster recovery (BCDR)

    Business continuity and disaster recovery (BCDR) are closely related practices that describe an organization's preparation for ...

  • warm site

    A warm site is a type of facility an organization uses to recover its technology infrastructure when its primary data center goes...

  • disaster recovery (DR) test

    A disaster recovery test (DR test) is the examination of each step in a disaster recovery plan as outlined in an organization's ...

SearchStorage

  • disk array

    A disk array, also called a storage array, is a data storage system used for block-based storage, file-based storage or object ...

  • enterprise storage

    Enterprise storage is a centralized repository for business information that provides common data management, protection and data...

  • optical storage

    Optical storage is any storage type in which data is written and read with a laser. Typically, data is written to optical media, ...

Close