Fight computer viruses like epidemics: Microsoft

Feb 15, 2011
The Microsoft booth at the 2010 International Consumer Electronics Show. Microsoft on Tuesday advocated fighting pernicious computer viruses with public health tactics used to stop the spread of SARS, H1N1 and other dangerous real world bugs.

Microsoft on Tuesday advocated fighting pernicious computer viruses with public health tactics used to stop the spread of SARS, H1N1 and other dangerous real world bugs.

Computers could be granted health certificates to be used online to show they were checked for viruses, vice president of Trustworthy Computing Scott Charney said at a RSA security gathering here.

"There are a lot of parallels to the health model," Charney said.

"In public health we give people advice like wash your hands to stay safe or get vaccinations," he continued. "We can do that in the Internet world as well, and if your computer is sick we give you treatment."

Computer versions of public health notices could include the importance of running updated anti-virus or warnings about the latest malicious software spreading online.

Charney told of "proof of concept" online identification software that could play a pivotal role in an online public health model by verifying that people on the Internet are who they claim to be.

People wouldn't be compelled to use computer health certificates, but businesses could require them for certain services.

"Instead of just reacting to tainted machines, we can look out for machine health," Charney said.

"It's not about quarantining machines," he continued. "It's about remediation."

Charney caused a buzz last year at RSA with a suggestion that computers infected with be quarantined on the Internet.

"We could flip it around to use the identity model," Charney said. "Where consumers would be asked for health certificates (for computers) and not providing one might have some consequences."

People who didn't present health claims could encounter precautions such as caps on money accessed in online bank accounts or limited flow.

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User comments : 5

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2.6 / 5 (5) Feb 15, 2011
No Microsot, we need to expand our computer gene-pool in fact, in line with natures efforts! GREATER DIVERSITY instead of having your 'softy'ware on 93.4545672239 per cent of all computers outside of China!!!
-word to ya muthas-
2.3 / 5 (3) Feb 15, 2011
What we need is linux.
3 / 5 (2) Feb 15, 2011
"My computer has trust issues."
not rated yet Feb 16, 2011
lots more options for Os's would just lead to customer confusion? Remember how Linux would revolutionize netbooks? they were returned 4 times more often than windows netbooks. I think this is a novel idea, but would be hard to put into practice. Also, I'm not really seeing how this would stop anything, I suppose it would just reduce exposure.
not rated yet Feb 16, 2011
they were returned 4 times more often than windows netbooks.
Because there was only one MS netbook?
Sources, please.