FILED UNDER SOMETHINGISRAELI >> Technology
As everyone knows, computer viruses spread through the internet and via email are annoying, frustrating and cause a lot of hassle and problems to those who are affected by them.
But what is you could knock them out before they cause damage and what if you can harness the power of the internet and the computers that run them. So you turn the virus against itself.
An Israeli PHD and his team is working on developing an antidote to viruses that will stop them in their tracks.
Eran Shir, 31 from Tel Aviv University along with a trio of others have put their thoughts together and in early December, Nature Physics ran a five page feature on the theory to eradicate viruses.
The concept the team have come up with is based on openness of the system and understanding of the internet as the spreading of a virus as opposed to the historical diskette spreading of a virus and in which anti-virus technology is based on.
Shir's team and project is called DIMES - Distributed Internet Measurements & Simulations.
"The need to respond to cyber-attacks in real time has spurred efforts to create artificial immune systems that could autonomously identify viruses and develop immunizing agents. In such schemes, the vaccine would spread to other computers in the same epidemic fashion as the virus, but it would reach most computers too late - later than the virus," Shir told the Jerusalem Post. "Our solution involves the installation of a special program as a 'sentinel at the gate' to quickly receive messages on new viruses, and when it arrives, the sentinel will know in real time not to allow it in," he added said.
While the concept is still just a concept, Shir hopes it will grow as more people are aware of what he has developed and others can contribute towards the project.
"I was not the first to suggest sending viruses in a decentralized way," he says. "There were people at IBM, but they thought it was not practical because the virus always has a head start and the antivirus can't keep up. But we succeeded in showing it can be practical if one makes small changes in an on-line network. This can be done by allowing immunity to pass through links where the antivirus program cannot go, such as SMS, instant messaging, peer-to-peer networks or secure e-mail networks with encryption. As a result, with even a small number of secure links, the antivirus can jump behind the enemy lines and stop the virus. It can happen within seconds."
For more information on DIMES: www.netdimes.org