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New Zealand fights viruses - on two fronts

by Donna Buenaventura / March 16, 2004 10:07 PM PST

While anti-virus software struggles with the onslaught of the recent "worm wars", two New Zealand developers are advocating clever solutions - but from radically different ends of the spectrum.

One is proposing a "white-list" approach to security in which only approved traffic is allowed in, while the other is pushing for a partnership of sorts between spam and virus fighters.

Anti-virus specialists suggest that a "war" between rival virus writers may be to blame for the rash of outbreaks in recent weeks. New variants of MyDoom, NetSky and Bagle have been launched, five in three hours, each containing entertaining messages from the authors.

Netsky also attempts to remove MyDoom and Bagle when it encounters an infected PC.

Christchurch-based virus specialist Nick FitzGerald proposes a simple approach to the problem of viruses.

"Most companies use a black-list approach, which is ****-about-face. The correct way to provide security is with a white-list approach." FitzGerald likens network security to trying to enter a top secret research facility. "Black-lists work like this: you bowl up to the gate, show the guards your ID and have them check against a list of known villains. If your name is not there you are admitted."

FitzGerald says that you should have to prove that you are supposed to be there - a white-list approach.


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