Statistical physics shows new approach to fighting viruses

Dec 12, 2005

Computer viruses pose an ongoing threat and their neutralization calls for new strategies, researchers at Tel Aviv University say. Eran Shir and colleagues propose a solution that helps an 'antivirus' program reach an at-risk computer faster than the virus itself.

Current computer virus immunization strategies -- such as antiviral software -- are static. But the need to respond to cyber-attacks in real time has spurred efforts to create artificial immune systems that can autonomously identify viruses and develop immunizing agents. In such schemes, the vaccine would spread to other computers in the same epidemic fashion as the virus, but it would reach most computers later than the virus.

The team suggests there is a way to counteract the head start of the virus. Using network theory -- a branch of statistical physics -- the authors show the design of a computer network can be slightly modified to have just a handful of extra connections open only to the vaccine.

That, the researchers said, would be enough to enable the vaccine to outrun the virus and spread to other computers, immunizing them before the virus arrives, thereby preventing a cyber-plague.

The research is reported in the December issue of Nature Physics.

Copyright 2005 by United Press International

Explore further: New insights found in black hole collisions

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

US turns to rewards in hunt for overseas cyber criminals

Mar 19, 2015

The FBI considers Evgeniy Bogachev one of the world's most prolific and brilliant cyber criminals, slapping his photos—bald, beefy-faced and smiling faintly—on "Wanted" fliers posted online. The Russian ...

Supercomputers help solve puzzle-like bond for biofuels

Mar 16, 2015

One of life's strongest bonds has been discovered by a science team researching biofuels with the help of supercomputers. Their find could boost efforts to develop catalysts for biofuel production from non-food ...

Recommended for you

New insights found in black hole collisions

Mar 27, 2015

New research provides revelations about the most energetic event in the universe—the merging of two spinning, orbiting black holes into a much larger black hole.

X-rays probe LHC for cause of short circuit

Mar 27, 2015

The LHC has now transitioned from powering tests to the machine checkout phase. This phase involves the full-scale tests of all systems in preparation for beam. Early last Saturday morning, during the ramp-down, ...

Swimming algae offer insights into living fluid dynamics

Mar 27, 2015

None of us would be alive if sperm cells didn't know how to swim, or if the cilia in our lungs couldn't prevent fluid buildup. But we know very little about the dynamics of so-called "living fluids," those ...

First glimpse inside a macroscopic quantum state

Mar 27, 2015

In a recent study published in Physical Review Letters, the research group led by ICREA Prof at ICFO Morgan Mitchell has detected, for the first time, entanglement among individual photon pairs in a beam ...

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.