Speed limits could slow viruses

May 5/12, 2004

Despite programs designed to detect and delete them, computer viruses and worms are using up an increasing amount of network resources and computer user time.

Computer viruses are relatively small bits of code that attach themselves to computer programs and propagate when a user performs an action like opening an attachment. Computer worms are separate programs that can spread unaided through computer networks.

Researchers from the University of New Mexico, the Santa Fe Institute, the University of Michigan and Hewlett-Packard's HP Laboratories in England to have found a new way to slow viruses and worms. The method, dubbed throttling, involves limiting the number of new connections a computer can make in a given period of time. This promises to slow the spread of viruses and worms enough to make them easier to control and eliminate.

According to the researchers' calculations, limiting computers to one new Web server connection per second would slow a virus like Nimda by a factor of 400, but would not adversely affect regular traffic.

Other research has shown that scale-free networks like the Internet, which have a few large hubs that contain many connections and many smaller hubs that contain few connections, are particularly vulnerable to worms and viruses, and are fairly resistant to control strategies like random vaccination.

The researchers' method could be used in other situations as well. Throttling is appropriate for managing an attack or cascading failure that occurs faster than humans can respond, according to the researchers.

The work appeared in the April 22, 2004 issue of Science.

Page One

DNA bot targets cancer

Memory stores three bits in one

Chaos seems to aid learning

Y switches set up low-power logic

Color display blocks prying eyes
Net lets hand-helds view 3D data
Speed limits could slow viruses
Nano test tubes fabricated
Nanowires make tiny compasses
Upbeat computers boost users

Research Watch blog

View from the High Ground Q&A
How It Works

RSS Feeds:
News  | Blog

Ad links:
Buy an ad link


Ad links: Clear History

Buy an ad link

Home     Archive     Resources    Feeds     Glossary
TRN Finder     Research Dir.    Events Dir.      Researchers     Bookshelf
   Contribute      Under Development     T-shirts etc.     Classifieds

© Copyright Technology Research News, LLC 2000-2010. All rights reserved.