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Virus Throttling for Instant Messaging

Williamson, Matthew M.; Parry, Alan; Byde, Andrew

HPL-2004-81

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Abstract: Virus Throttling is a technique to slow the spread of worms and viruses by targeting their propagation. It works by preventing an infected machine infecting many others. This then results in fewer machines becoming infected and less traffic generated by the virus. The technique has been shown to work well for worms that spread over many TCP/IP protocols as well as email. This paper applies the technique to Instant Messaging. Worms and viruses that spread over Instant Messaging are a growing but significant threat. They have the potential to spread very rapidly causing widespread damage. While there have been few Instant Messaging viruses in the wild, they are likely to become more of a problem in the future, particularly as many enterprises are adopting Instant Messaging for internal use.

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