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Communication Innovation Internet Security & Privacy Technology

US researchers target worms

Sounding like some script excerpt from Terminator 3: “US researchers have come up with a technique that claims to be able to stop internet worms within milliseconds of an outbreak.”

Unlike the mechanical nemesis of all mankind, this particular system has the rather prosaic, academically anaemic-sounding name of the Proactive Worm Containment (PWC) system. Obviously not as catchy as SkyNet, but hey!

Worm infestation is of a particular order of annoyance for administrators and network specialists because a single worm can pretty much devour all of the available bandwidth as it sets about replicating itself.

“[Proactive Worm Containment] relies on the frequency of connections at a packet level, and analyses the number of connections this traffic is making to other networks.

This is said to counter one of the biggest issues in worm defense, namely that they spread at incredible speed before they can be stopped. By the time security systems have recovered, the damage is often done.”

Whether this system will work as intended remains to be seen.

What we do know is that this is an arms race. One side takes the lead and enjoys some success for a while. The other side then edges forward with a counter strategy and the whole thing escalates.

While there’s money or merry to be made from this kind of stuff, academia can expect to be spending more of its time eating pizza and drinking soda while working into the wee small hours for some time to come yet…

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By Wayne Smallman

Wayne is the man behind the Blah, Blah! Technology website, and the creator of the Under Cloud, a digital research assistant for journalists and academics.

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