Documenting the Coming Singularity

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

An immune system for the Internet

Editor's Note: The human body has an immune system developed and refined over billions of years of evolution. It can be defeated, yes,but it saves us from countless attacks every day. Why not a sophisticated immune system for the Internet? Researchers are at work on just such a system.

New Scientist - August 18, 2009, by Anil Ananthaswamy

ISPs may opt to spend their money on other measures - such as speeding up the installation of software patches to plug security holes, notes Baldwin. Or they may have other security priorities, as hackers shift to more covert activities aimed at pilfering money from unsuspecting web users. Nevertheless, worms remain a threat, especially if levels of cyber warfare, such as the targeting of government sites, increase. "Then you might start to see worms [again] and that becomes more important to deal with," says Baldwin.

And if ISPs can be persuaded to cooperate in boosting the internet's immune system, the strategy could also tackle spam - which, at any given time, is the work of a small set of computers spewing out junk email.

"[About] 60 per cent of internet email traffic is spam at the moment," says Coull. "A similar warning and filtering system could actually stop most of the spam from even traversing through the internet."

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