Jan 04, 2012

How good of an idea is it to create a "good virus" to defend against viruses and cyberattacks?

To combat DDoS attacks, the Japanese government is apparently working on a "virus" that can trace back to an attacking resource, then disable it. I can't help but wonder how good of an idea it is to install a "good" piece of malware (or should I call it posiware?) as a preventative measure? What do you think about the concept, is it a good or bad idea?

Sounds a bit like Spy Versus Spy to me. Heh. Where does it end? And could the Japanase idea complicate things and make an even bigger mess at some point?

But then again, I could be wrong in being skeptical about it. Sometimes fresh ideas and approaches can generate unexpected progress on problems like this. So perhaps it's a good idea to follow what the Japanese are doing and then see what comes of it?

At the very least I give them credit for being creative.

I don't like the idea of software, even presumably acting with good intentions, running on my machines without my approval.  Sure, I assume that it is meant to be installed by knowledgeable, most likely government users, but if it can react to external threats and "infect" the threat source autonomously, it seems like just a matter of time before it is essentially invited to infect a "black hat" machine through an attack, and the bad guys get access to the code to modify and use for their own purposes.  I also have concerns about the effect on memory and processor cycles, and bandwidth consumption, which seems inevitable with this type of software.   Nothing is free, so I would also expect to see memory drain if this is constantly running on machines to provide active defense against attacks.  All in all, I lean towards thinking this concept of a "good virus" is probably a bad idea.

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