Internet Relay Chat Worm


An Internet Relay Chat (IRC) worm is a type of malicious software that spreads through online chat networks. Specifically targeting IRC platforms, it often propagates by sending infected files or messages to chat participants. Once infiltrated, the worm can compromise the victim’s system, steal sensitive information, or enable unauthorized access for hackers.


The phonetic pronunciation of the keyword “Internet Relay Chat Worm” is:Internet: /ˈɪntərˌnɛt/Relay: /rɪˈleɪ/Chat: /tʃæt/Worm: /wɜrm/

Key Takeaways

  1. Internet Relay Chat (IRC) Worms are self-replicating malicious software that spread through IRC networks, exploiting vulnerabilities in chat clients and servers.
  2. IRC Worms can cause various types of damage, including data corruption, unauthorized access, and even a complete system takeover, putting users at significant risk for identity theft and financial loss.
  3. Preventing infection by an IRC Worm requires users to maintain up-to-date antivirus software, exercise caution with file downloads and links, and keep their operating systems and chat clients patched with the latest security updates.


The term “Internet Relay Chat (IRC) Worm” is important because it refers to a type of self-replicating malware that propagates through internet chat services, specifically IRC networks.

IRC worms pose a significant threat to internet security as they can spread rapidly, infecting numerous computers and potentially causing substantial damage.

They can compromise users’ personal information, consume system resources, disrupt network operations, or even launch coordinated attacks against other systems.

Therefore, understanding IRC worms is crucial for developing strategies to prevent, detect, and mitigate their impact, ultimately resulting in improved cyber hygiene and protection of digital infrastructure.


Internet Relay Chat (IRC) Worm is a type of malware which primarily aims to infiltrate and propagate through IRC networks, causing disruptions and compromising the security of the affected systems. Unlike other types of worms that spread through email attachments or infected websites, IRC worms specifically target the text-based chat rooms and messaging services within the IRC network.

These worms exploit the vulnerabilities in chat clients or the underlying network infrastructure, making it easier for the attackers to execute their malicious activities, such as stealing sensitive information, conducting denial of service (DoS) attacks, or even gaining unauthorized remote access to the infected systems. The primary purpose of an IRC worm is to propagate and proliferate rapidly, taking advantage of the real-time nature of chat applications, as well as the close connections between users on the platform.

Once installed, the worm might perform a variety of malicious tasks, such as monitoring user activities, logging keystrokes to steal login credentials and passwords, or enlisting compromised systems into a botnet. This botnet can then be utilized by the attacker to conduct further attacks, such as distributed denial of service (DDoS), as well as disseminating the worm to other users through various means such as file sharing, malicious URLs, or private messages within the IRC network.

Examples of Internet Relay Chat Worm

Internet Relay Chat (IRC) worms are malicious software programs that propagate through IRC channels by exploiting vulnerabilities in the software. These worms can cause various types of harm, including data theft, unauthorized access to computers, and interruption of services. Here are three real-world examples of IRC worms:

IRC Sdbot: The Sdbot family of worms, also known as Agobot, is a group of IRC worms that primarily target Windows operating systems. These worms typically spread by infecting vulnerable systems and upon infection, they connect to an IRC server to receive commands from the attacker. Sdbot worms can be used to launch Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks, steal passwords, and download additional malware onto infected systems.

IRC Mytob: Mytob is a well-known IRC worm that propagates via email attachments. Once the attachment is opened, the worm infects the user’s computer and connects to an IRC server. Mytob worms can be used for various malicious activities, such as collecting sensitive information, spamming, and installing other malware. Mytob also has the ability to disable antivirus software and prevent access to security-related websites.

IRC Spybot: Spybot is another widespread family of IRC worms targeting Windows systems. Spybot worms have keylogging capabilities, allowing them to capture and transmit sensitive user information such as usernames and passwords to the attacker. This information can then be used for identity theft, financial fraud, or further system infiltration. In addition to keylogging, Spybot worms can also engage in DDoS attacks, send spam emails, or download additional malware onto infected systems.

FAQ: Internet Relay Chat Worm

What is an Internet Relay Chat Worm?

An Internet Relay Chat (IRC) Worm is a type of malware that propagates through the IRC platform. It typically spreads by sending infected files or messages to users on chat channels, compromising the security of their systems once the malicious files are opened or links are clicked.

How do IRC Worms spread?

IRC Worms spread by exploiting the features of the IRC platform. They usually infect a host system and then use it to share infected files or send messages containing malicious links to other users on the same chat channel. Once the recipients unknowingly click the links or open the files, their systems become infected and continue the propagation process.

What are the dangers of an IRC Worm?

Once an IRC Worm infects a system, it can cause various issues, including system slowdowns, unauthorized access to sensitive information, and even complete system crashes. Additionally, the worm might bring other malicious components with it, increasing the risk of further damage or data theft.

How can I protect myself from IRC Worms?

To protect yourself from IRC Worms, follow these guidelines: avoid downloading files from unknown sources, exercise caution when clicking links in chat messages, keep your antivirus software up-to-date, don’t share personal information on IRC channels, and ensure your system and software are up-to-date with the latest security patches.

How can I detect and remove an IRC Worm from my system?

Detection and removal of the IRC Worm can be accomplished using a reliable antivirus program that scans your system regularly. In case of infection, follow the remediation steps provided by the antivirus software to remove the worm and any associated components from your system.

Related Technology Terms

  • IRC (Internet Relay Chat)
  • Malware
  • Botnet
  • Chatroom Infection
  • Worm Propagation

Sources for More Information


About The Authors

The DevX Technology Glossary is reviewed by technology experts and writers from our community. Terms and definitions continue to go under updates to stay relevant and up-to-date. These experts help us maintain the almost 10,000+ technology terms on DevX. Our reviewers have a strong technical background in software development, engineering, and startup businesses. They are experts with real-world experience working in the tech industry and academia.

See our full expert review panel.

These experts include:


About Our Editorial Process

At DevX, we’re dedicated to tech entrepreneurship. Our team closely follows industry shifts, new products, AI breakthroughs, technology trends, and funding announcements. Articles undergo thorough editing to ensure accuracy and clarity, reflecting DevX’s style and supporting entrepreneurs in the tech sphere.

See our full editorial policy.

More Technology Terms

Technology Glossary

Table of Contents