New system halts malware

Monday, 17 November 2003, 7:01 AM EST

John Lockwood, Ph.D, an assistant professor of computer science at Washington University, and the graduate students that work in his research laboratory have developed a hardware platform called the Field-programmable Port Extender (FPX) that scans for malware transmitted over a network and filters out unwanted data.

'The FPX uses several patented technologies in order to scan for the signatures of malware quickly,' said Lockwood. 'Unlike existing network intrusion systems, the FPX uses hardware, not software, to scan data quickly. The FPX can scan each and every byte of every data packet transmitted through a network at a rate of 2.4 billion bits per second. In other words, the FPX could scan every word in the entire works of Shakespeare in about 1/60th of a second.'

Computer virus and Internet worm attacks, such as Nimba, Code Red, Slammer, SoBigF, and MSBlast have infected computers globally. It can take weeks to months for IT staff to clean up all of the computers throughout a network after an outbreak. The direct cost to recover from just the 'Code Red version two' worm alone was $2.6 billion.

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