When in Japan you see people walking around with surgical masks on out on the streets and in businesses. This is a form of social etiquette for a number of different reasons, but the one it is most commonly known for is people who have a cold or flu not wanting to infect other people around them. This is very much a part of the “good of the community” mentality you find over there, and if Microsoft had its way, you’d find something similar coming to the Internet.
According to The Sydney Morning Herald, a team within Microsoft is suggesting that computers that become infected with a virus should be quarantined from the Internet until such time that a “health certificate” can be issued proving they are now clean.
While this is a nice theory in concept, there are some major issues, such as the fact Microsoft wasn’t quite sure who would issue such decelerations of a computer now having clean health. There is also the issue of how you would get updates to fight the virus. Ram Herkanaidu, a researcher at the security company Kaspersky, told the newspaper:
This would be a bad idea in practice. Just say your machine was infected – if you could not access the internet, how would you be able to update your anti-virus and also apply any software patches? Technically, though, an ISP could give limited access to a safe area so they could get the relevant updates but this would be done by individual ISPs themselves.
While some viruses won’t let you download anything that would help you, there are ways around that. There is also the issue of finding out the solutions to fight which ever virus you end up with by visiting various forums. There is some thoughts ISPs would allow you access to “safe zones” where you could find tools to help you, but that would be expensive prospect for most companies.
While we think Microsoft has a good point about how you do this sort of think with sick people, we think cutting them off completely from the Internet is not a good idea. Of course there would also be that pesky thing about who would declare a computer clean …
What say you? Should infected computers go into quarantine?