John Evans' Blog

IT Inoculations

by on Mar.12, 2008, under Uncategorized

An unusual thought just occurred to me. I was thinking about computer viruses. They’re called such because their propagation has certain things in common with biological viruses. Well, for biological viruses, we have vaccines. The basic of a vaccine (from the Latin vacca, “cow”) is that you introduce a harmless (inactivated, incomplete, attenuated) version of the virus into the body. That version is detected by the immune system, which builds up defenses against it. Thus, the defenses are ready when the real virus comes along.

So. What if someone was, say, a member of a corporation that was lax in updating its antivirus software? That person might acquire a relatively harmless computer virus and release it into the system…if enough users were to report mysterious popup windows and disk activity, the IT department would eventually take notice.

Of course, I’m certainly not condoning installing viruses on your workplace computers. That would be bad. Especially since, after all, you would have to be completely sure your chosen virus was harmless

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3 comments for this entry:
  1. vincentursus

    One might also question the how analogous an IT department is to an immune system.

  2. johnevans

    Quite analogous, I’d say…I mean, when there’s an infection, they mobilize and adapt to it, right?

  3. vincentursus

    Is the resource expenditure analogous though?

    The IT department theoretically has other responsibilities than dealing with infections.

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