The ever vigilant Ministry of Defence (MOD) has come up with a novel way of combating the threat of email viruses, by turning the conventional virus-fighting technique on its head.
The radical idea behind the MoD's antivirus software, dubbed ::Mail, is to stop viruses getting out, rather than to prevent them getting in.
The ever growing threat of self-propagating email viruses has been highlighted time and time again, initially by the Love Bug and more recently by the Anna Kournikova virus, both of which caused untold amounts of damage and headaches for system administrators.
But the MoD's Defence Evaluation and Research Agency (Dera) reckons its technique will prove a simple way of containing virus outbreaks before they get a chance to cause damage.
Simon Wiseman, leader of the DERA team behind ::Mail, said the system was an extension of the MoD's principle of stopping information escaping.
"While every other antivirus company has concentrated on stopping things getting in, we are shutting down the propagation channels so that any damage is contained in the machines of those opening the infected message," he said.
While using ::Mail, whenever the user's machine attempts to send a message, an alert box pops up detailing what is being sent and to whom. The user is then given the option to confirm or deny the command.
The software should also work if a machine is infected by a virus which attempts to mail itself out behind the scenes, as was the case with the Kournikova virus. Although the user's machine will already be infected, the base concept is damage limitation.
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