If the best way to fight fire is with fire, someone has decided that the best way to fight a computer virus is with another computer virus. Why didn’t we think of that? Actually we may have, but we’re just not telling. For several years now the Japanese Defense Ministry has been developing a computer virus that can track down other computer viruses and take them out, so to speak. It could be said that it is a weapon of fast destruction. Ouch. The good virus quickly disables not only the source of the bad virus but also the other computers that were commandeered along the way by bad viruses for the purpose of launching attacks in the Cyberworld. If it works it would be a very effective tool, sort of like Star Wars for the computer worm environment.
Cyberworld (Image via RottenTomatoes.com)
But not all are willing to say that such a plan is a good idea. And really, launching a virus even if it’s a “good” virus could be a crime. Sorry Glinda – you have no power here! Begone before someone drops a house on you too. In any case, the concept of a good virus versus a bad virus would be difficult for anti-virus programs to handle. Plus, the bad guys will then launch polite viruses that are really bad viruses imitating the good virus – and well, you can see where all of this is leading as the laws of unintended consequences kick in. A self-replicating good virus could become the equivalent of numerous non-native species around the world that were introduced to solve a problem and wound up creating their own. Still, in the age of increasing attacks, it’s good to know there could be good viruses thrown after bad.