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Net viruses 'throttled' not killed

Karl Cushing
Anti-virus software that works by slowing down the propagation of viruses over the Internet instead of trying to kill them has been developed at a laboratory in Bristol.

The method aims to "throttle" the spread of the virus by limiting the number of outbound connections from an infected computer to one new address per second, during which time a virus like Nimda would try to get its hosts to make about 400 new connections. The idea is that technicians will be quickly alerted to the resultant backlog of requests in an infected computer and then destroy the bug, thus reducing its impact.

Jonathan Griffin, a research engineer at Hewlett-Packard laboratories, where the idea was developed, claimed that in tests the virus throttle significantly slowed the rate of infection and had little impact on regular computing activities. One of the key applications of the technique would be for new strains of worms and viruses, said Griffin.

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