Wednesday 11/12/2002That's more like it! Bristol scientists in worm-throttling shock!

Wednesday 11/12/2002
That's more like it! Bristol scientists in worm-throttling shock! But put aside those images of welly-clad farmers in white smocks clasping their size 13 agricultural hands around the neck of some slimy denizen of the soil. These are real computer researchers working with those nasty network worms, whose habits of burrowing through your email and spawning their progeny in your outbox have brought so much misery to so many. The idea is simple, nearly perfect. When your computer gets hit by a worm, it starts to send out copies at a rate of hundreds per second. Normally, this never happens -- so by introducing a small piece of code that spots repeated requests and regulates them to one a second or so, an infected machine becomes very much less infectious. And once you stop worms spreading exponentially, they become much easier to control and eradicate -- neatly disrupting the dynamic that makes them such a nuisance in the first place. Hats off to HP for a bit of lateral thinking, and even more so for a practical and most helpful idea. It's just a shame that those companies that make the most noise about their security prowess -- and how much they spend on trying to defeat the evil menace -- don't come up with similar basic ideas. Many more ideas like that, and the whole virus business will become just a footnote in computing history. I'm sure that the many companies who make money from anti-virus software will be delighted to see that happen.