Both worms and viruses have the ability to spread themselves and they both have malicious intent. They differ in that a worm is a standalone program while a virus has to attach itself to a host program.
A computer worm is a standalone malware computer program that replicates itself in order to spread to other computers. It often uses a computer network to spread itself, relying on security failures on the target computer to access it. It will use this machine as a host to scan and infect other computers. When these new worm-invaded computers are controlled, the worm will continue to scan and infect other computers using these computers as hosts, and this behavior will continue. Computer worms use recursive methods to copy themselves without host programs and distribute themselves based on the law of exponential growth, thus controlling and infecting more and more computers in a short time. Worms almost always cause at least some harm to the network, even if only by consuming bandwidth, whereas viruses almost always corrupt or modify files on a targeted computer.
Many worms are designed only to spread, and do not attempt to change the systems they pass through. However, as the Morris worm and Mydoom showed, even these "payload-free" worms can cause major disruption by increasing network traffic and other unintended effects.