Use lessons from the common to defeat computer viruses

Thursday, 26 February 2004, 6:04 PM EST

Through the years, some malicious computer programs have come to be known as viruses. Dr. Fred Cohen, a principal analyst with market research firm Burton Group, coined the term when he was working as a graduate student at the University of Southern California in the early 1980s. "There was a resemblance in how computer viruses and biological viruses reproduced," he told TechNewsWorld.

Given that similarity, a question has arisen recently: Can the study of human viruses be helpful to computer scientists, who are trying to prevent the next MyDoom from wreaking havoc? For Cohen, the answer is "yes," but for others, the answer is "no."

To understand why the industry has two different answers to this question, one first must become familiar with the nature of human viruses. Immunology is the scientific area that studies the complex, sophisticated human immune system.

By Paul Korzeniowski at TechNewsWorld.

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