2010 set to become the year of internet caution

ESET says that, based on information from its ThreatNet operation, it expects ISPs to implement technologies to identify users who are infected with malware and take steps to block their Internet access until their machines are cleaned up.

ESET says its expects it will take a few years before this practice is the norm for ISPs, rather than the exception, but the prevalence of such practices will increase.

David Harley, ESET's director of malware intelligence, said he expects Conficker infections to be in decline by now if people were taking commonsense precautions.

"The concept of the walled garden has been spoken about for some time, but following the success of projects such as those seen in Australia, we expect to see more ISPs adopt this approach in the near future, and that will reduce the impact of malware like Conficker", he said.

Conficker, he explained, is easy to diagnose, identify and remedy – both proactively and reactively.

In the 'walled garden' scenario, he said, a user's computer that has been recognised as exhibiting behaviour suggesting that it is infected with malware or has become part of a botnet is not allowed full access to the internet until the infection has been cleaned.

According to Harley, although this is a somewhat draconian measure, it does have merit in terms of the common good.

The downside, however, is that any false positives will be exceptionally annoying and troublesome for consumers and ISPs alike, as quarantine systems are fine tuned and the kinks ironed out.

Harley went on to say that ESET's research team in San Diego has detailed Conficker issues steadily through 2009 and expects to continue to report on the worm in 2010.


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