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An Approach to Containing Computer Viruses

Terence Gray, Maria Pozzo
Computers & Security, volume 6, issue 4, pp. 321-331
ISSN 0167-4048

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This paper presents a mechanism for containing the spread of computer viruses by detecting at run-time whether or not an executable has been modified since its installation. The detection strategy uses encryption and is held to be better for virus containment than conventional computer security mechanisms which are based on the incorrect assumption that preventing modification of executables by unauthorized users is sufficient. Although this detection mechanism is most effective when all executables in a system are encrypted, a scheme is presented that shows the usefulness of the encryption approach when this is not the case. The detection approach is also better suited for use in untrusted computer systems. The protection of this mechanism in untrusted computing environments is addressed.

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