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The Weekly Future Bit: Antivirus

... to the Future, courtesy of http://www.flickr.com/photos/monterd/

… to the Future, courtesy of monterd

The Weekly Future Bit is a weekly spot that will focus on predictions of the future, socially, technologically, and anything else that comes in its way.

Computer viruses are something that everyone who uses a computer needs to worry about, Windows, Mac, and Linux alike, albeit the latter two less so.  But, there will always be security exploits for software, and people using those exploits to gain access to your computer and data.  And since the first computer viruses, there was antivirus software to help protect against intrusion, and that has been the mode of operation: you protect yourself through your antivirus.  Sure, there are additional measures, like firewalls, that do help, but all of these combined do not stop viruses.  Even all the extra security measures in Windows Vista that gave users such pain, did not completely stop the issue of a virus.

To combat this, IT security is going to go on the offensive.  This has already started a little bit too.  For one, antivirus companies such as McAfee and Norton team up with service providers to block the ability for high profile viruses to phone home, and really wreak havoc (without phoning home, most viruses are not very dangerous at all).  The next move that’s about to begin is proactive response to detection.  Australia, for example, is going to begin contacting users of infected machines, and even go so far as to disconnect the machines from the Internet.

The next step may be to actually change the viruses themselves to be benign to the infected, but malicious toward those who created it.  Another avenue that might be used is to deter, and even stop some viruses and the hackers who create them might be to make it so that the only data that is sent back to the hacker, is fake, and designed to trap the hackers.   The main barrier though, is the law.  In the case of Australia, it’s the government’s new policy, so it’s legal.  Some of these other measures though, including even more creative measures than I’ve thought of, are on that thin line, or if you’re talking with the right lawyer, straight-up illegal.  But, in the pursuit of security, you can expect things to change more and more toward the offensive.

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