It seems that every few weeks we hear about some big database getting hacked by villainous characters and their malware viruses. Most individual computer users have some sort of anti-virus program running on their machines. So it's always interesting to see the unique approaches the big guys come up with for computer protection.
According to a January 2012 news report, the Japanese Defense Ministry awarded a three year contract to Fujitsu in 2008 to develop an anti-virus virus. That would be a virus assigned to hop from computer to computer in a search and destroy mission to locate and wipe out an enemy virus. They've tested it on a closed system and concluded that it works. But Sophos Naked Security says that it's a bad idea for a variety of reasons, not least of which might be unintended bugs developing from the fix in all those computers healed by the anti-virus virus.
Here's an approach that looks like more fun -- feed hackers fake info. This protection system sniffs out website users who are using automated tools that look for system weaknesses. Then the system plants a supercookie onto the offender's computer so that it can be identified when the offender returns. According to TechnologyReview.com, the goal is to play tricks on the offender. Excerpt:
Mykonos's software creates the illusion that the hacker is making progress. "We can intercept their scans and inundate them with fake values," says Koretz. "It takes much longer [for an attacker to scan a site], and the results are useless."
A scan that might usually take five hours could take 30, Koretz says. Other tactics include offering up dummy password files, which can help track an attacker when he or she tries to use them. "We'll let them break the encryption and present a false login page. We have the ability to hack the hacker," says Koretz.
As a promotional tool to impress potential clients, Mykonos engineers have built versions of the company's software that taunt attackers. One directs a hacker to a Google Maps search for nearby criminal attorneys. Another parodies Microsoft's now-defunct anthropomorphic paper clip, Clippy, with the message: "It looks like you're an unsophisticated script kiddie. Do you need help writing code?"
One of my childhood friends would like that. He had a clever/cruel trick he would play on passers by. He wrapped a brick in Christmas paper tied with a nice bow which he then placed in the street. We hid and watched as the glee of someone who thought they were getting something for nothing turned to the frustration of being had.