How cooperation can beat viruses

Friday, 16 April 2004, 5:58 PM EST

Throughout this latest swarm of Netsky and Bagle computer viruses, I've been trying to dream up a way we can all work together to reduce the number of viruses and worms spread on the Internet. It's not easy. Most of our current computer security strategy is based on after-the-fact mitigation, and we don't focus enough resources on prevention. Sure, good networks are built on trust, but no matter how many firewalls and antivirus scanners you install, it takes only one Typhoid Mary computer to infect a whole network.

Back in the 1980s, the way to avoid computer viruses was to ask, "Whose floppy disk am I loading onto my computer?" Two decades later, we should be asking instead, "Whose desktop, laptop, or PDA is connecting to mine? Should I trust that individual to have installed proper patches and antivirus protection?" In most cases, the answer is no.

By Robert Vamosi at ZDNet.

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