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Do you think that PCs with viruses should be blocked from the internet? Should they be treated just like sick humans and isolated until they are better? Well, a recent article on the BBC that quotes a Microsoft expert says just that.

A part of me is rather taken with the idea. I mean, if it’s your PC and you’re snowed under with work and can’t get online, then you probably won’t be very impressed, but as a measure to potentially “cure” the internet, this sounds quite interesting.

In Scott Charney’s blog post: The need for global collective defense on the Internet, he talked about how there is not really much action on the viral front and that there has to be a way of tackling cyber threats in the future.

I agree, the loss to business and to valuable information – both in business and in personal spheres – is astronomical. Personally I would like to see the idiots who make these viruses grow up and go away, but that’s not going to happen is it?

The entire cybercriminal network is vast and profilic, with thousands of consumer computers “recruited” into doing their dirty work thanks to clever phishing and malware attacks. People often don’t even know that their machines are helping to cause mayhem across the web.

What Scott suggests is that computers are all given ‘health certificates” to prove that they are unaffected before they are allowed to connect to the internet. This way, he says, “such health checks should ensure that software patches are applied, a firewall is installed and configured correctly, an antivirus program with current signatures is running, and the machine is not currently infected with any malware.”

This idea is good in theory but perhaps practise won’t be so easy? What about the people who’s computers have just been beaten off the net like scraggly dogs? They can’t get online so they won’t be able to download patches, install the latest signatures and so forth.

Sure, they can amble on over to the nearest store to buy a hard copy of a good protection programme but the computer will still need internet access to get started.

In some countries, like Japan, France and Australia, there are initiatives developed by ISPs that aim to contact users and get them the software they need to prevent further infections. These initiatives all differ but the idea is good. If you know that the email warning you of infection is coming from your ISP, a trusted source, then you are less likely to think its canny spam.

So, what do you think? Should there be national health style quarantines in place so infected machines are locked out of the web? Or is this yet another pipe dream to combat a growing issue?

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