RealNews

Decades after creation, viruses defy cure

Of all the accomplishments in the annals of technology, Fred Cohen’s contribution is undeniably unique: He introduced the term “virus” to the lexicon of computers. The University of New Haven professor used the phrase in a 1984 research paper, in which he described threats self-propagating programs pose and explored potential defenses against them. When he asked for funding from the National Science Foundation three years later to further explore countermeasures, the agency rebuffed him. “They turned it down,” said Cohen, who is also principal analyst for research firm Burton Group. “They said it wasn’t of current interest.” Two decades later, countless companies and individuals are still paying for that mistake. The technology industry has yet to find a blanket solution to the ever-growing list of viruses and worms that constitute the greatest risk to computers on the Internet. Every year, companies lose billions of dollars when forced to halt work and deal with infectious digital diseases, such as Sobig and Slammer. Full Story

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