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In our daily life, we come across various Viruses. In this internet world, we do have lots of type of viruses come to visit us !

A programmer can create a Virus using programming & it can be put on internet. It flows across the world & harm all the system. Don't do we have a same way to run an Anti-virus that flows across the internet & can protect the network from being affected by Viruses ?

Please give any Idea...

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closed as not a real question by quack quixote Jun 17 '10 at 16:01

It's difficult to tell what is being asked here. This question is ambiguous, vague, incomplete, overly broad, or rhetorical and cannot be reasonably answered in its current form. For help clarifying this question so that it can be reopened, visit the help center.If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

    
this is better suited to a discussion forum. –  quack quixote Jun 17 '10 at 16:02
    
@quack how is this question still being voted on if it's closed (not that I don't like the rep boost) but I've received 2 upvotes and an accepted answer since you closed it. –  Evan Plaice Jun 18 '10 at 7:40
    
@evan: closed questions can't have new answers posted to them, but that's about the only restriction. a question must be locked to prevent other operations like voting. see meta.stackexchange.com/questions/7931/… and especially meta.stackexchange.com/questions/10582/… –  quack quixote Jun 18 '10 at 8:22
    
Don't do we have a same way to run an Anti-virus that flows across the internet & can protect the network from being affected by Viruses? Displays a fundamental major misunderstanding of why this is a bad idea. Which would end up being a massive Distributed Denial of Service Attack. We've already been here by other means, its easy to get things wrong as shown by the RTM worm, Code Red, Code Red II, Slammer, Nimda, et.al. It's easy to get things wrong, really wrong. To the point they generate so much traffic that they do as much damage as the payload you're trying to block. –  Fiasco Labs Feb 9 at 6:11
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4 Answers 4

up vote 7 down vote accepted

No...

The problem with your question is that it doesn't address the most difficult problem when facing viruses.

Finding them...

Yes, a virus may be a tiny file but it will be buried somewhere in your operating system amongst hundreds of thousands of files. To have that much data be scanned across the internet, you'd have to upload all of it piece by piece.

Where a normal virus scan may take a few hours, an online one would take weeks/months to finish and cost an obscene amount of money in bandwidth to the company providing the scan.

There are some ways to mitigate viruses while they travel across the web:

  • Most email providers automatically scan incoming emails for viruses
  • Most sites that allow users to upload content scan that content for viruses before making it available to the public.

But the age-old problem with viruses is most of them rely on 'social engineering'. Meaning, if virus writers can get you to download and execute their application (ex. by embedding it in a pirated install of photoshop) on your computer, then there's no hope. Even 'live' virus scanners that sit in the background and constantly scan (like Norton) will occasionally let one through.

The most effective measure to stop viruses from taking over your system is to limit how much of the file system can be accessed by the applications that you run. This is done by setting your user account to not run with 'root' privileges. Meaning, you have to manually type in a root password to access any of the system files. That's what Mac and Linux do and it's the main reason you don't see as many viruses on those platforms.

Sure, there are Mac and Linux viruses but they require a root password each time they want to touch a system file whereas, once a virus gets into windows, it's free game.

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I have to point out that the last sentence isn't completely true. The security of Vista/7 has come a long way since XP, not having all privileges by default is one part of it. But in my opinion it's still not as tight as the UNIX one, and still offers a lot of contact surface for attacks. –  Bobby Dec 29 '10 at 8:37
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There were worms which hunted down other worms (and even fixed security leaks), yes.

The problem is, this 'Anti-Virus'-Worm would be no better then his brother, he too would need to break into systems, he too would need to modify system files, he too would need to use any vulnerability he can find. But, and that's the big one, he can be abused, too. Only the intentions are better ones, the behavior stays the same...and the damage he can do, too.

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Bobby is correct, there have been worms that hunt down other worms and install a fix that makes sure no more worms get in the same way... but this doesn't work all that well just because of how they spread. Anyone who gets the virus before the anti-virus will still get "sick" and if you assume the anti-virus spreads just as fast, you're still going to get 1/2 the people getting the real virus first.

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Most antiviruses now days containt internet browsing protection and will block any harmful files or websites

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