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Wednesday, April 30, 2003
Virus warnings

This article made me think, once again, about the proliferation of viruses Defending against viruses, rather than digging them out once they're in causing damage, is greatly to be recommended. I confess to spending routine time keeping things tight. It's a bit like de-fragmenting and doing backups - time-consuming but essential.

Almost every day, I get warnings from an anti-viral software company. Several of the warnings have been useful. In particular, urgent alerts, where a virulent virus has been spreading rapidly, have enabled me to check and update my defences. However, one aspect of these reports disturbs me.

The message gives information about the number of times that a particular virus has been encountered. Sometimes this number is zero.

Cynics have suggested to me that this means that anti-virus software companies create the viruses in the first place. I prefer to believe that they pool knowledge of threats and each company deals with the threat independently. This would explain the 'zero' result.

However, one has to ask if virus writers and anti-virus software houses do, indeed. have a saprophytic relationship. After all, what skill in a potential employee would be most useful to an anti-virus company? Virus creation must come pretty near the top of the list.

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