Sophos blocks SETI @ work

Antivirus firm Sophos has updated its application control software so IT managers can block distributed applications such as SETI@home from being used on corporate desktops.Distributed computing systems use idle processor time -- usually in the form of a screensaver -- to crunch raw data.

Antivirus firm Sophos has updated its application control software so IT managers can block distributed applications such as SETI@home from being used on corporate desktops.

Distributed computing systems use idle processor time -- usually in the form of a screensaver -- to crunch raw data. The projects allow organisations like the Search for Extra Terrestrial Intelligence (SETI) to tap the vast amounts of unused computing power for very little cost.

However, the majority of administrators are not interested in letting their employees look for aliens while they are at lunch or after work, according to Sophos.

"IT staff simply don't want their PCs being used in the hunt for small furry creatures from Alpha Centauri, and other distributed computing activities," said Graham Cluley, senior technology consultant at Sophos, in a statement.

"This is not only because it may be wasting bandwidth and CPU time, but because they want greater control over the data that is leaving their organisation and what programs their users are installing and running," he said.

According to a survey conducted by Sophos, 89.3 percent of respondents said they want to control usage of such programs on their networks.

Dave Marsh, a member of the information security and compliance team at Heinz, welcomed the move.

"Controlling what my users can run helps to prevent so many risks including data leakage, bandwidth hogging and helps enforce compliance to company security standards," he said in a statement.

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