Malware Infested PCs – Is Banning Them From The Internet An Effective Solution?

The rogue of the internet, and something that still continues to plague us to this day, is the different types of malware that are out there.

While I wish that wasn’t the case, it still truly is.

The malware that is already out there is pretty powerful.

We still have not seen the worst of it yet.

Computers get cheaper while at the same time getting stronger, the malware writers are out there and using that fact to their advantage; they are creating even more powerful attacks that are harder to stop.

There has to be some way that we can curb the tide against this menace.

There are many different people that are out there trying to come up with unique and creative solutions that will be able to stop this from happening.

One unique solution that has been proposed is that whenever a computer on the internet has been exposed to a known virus, that this computer automatically becomes quarantined from the internet.

This means that the computer will not be able to log on to the internet through an ISP.

is banning infected machines from the internet the correct answer?

is banning infected machines from the internet the correct answer?

Why Is This An Effective Solution?

When you have an infection that is attacking the body or an infection that is spreading from person to person, the best way to stop it is to cut the infection off at the source.

This means that if you have an infection in the body that can’t be cured through traditional means then you have to take that body part out.

Also, if you have a person that is infecting all of the people around them with a virus, then you cut that person off from the rest of the people in the room until they are cured.

This is the same thing that is being proposed for a person’s personal computer.

If your computer is found to be on the internet with a known infection that is being spread around to other people then you will be cut off.

That particular computer will not be able to get on the network and the account will be flagged and examined at a later date.

This may seem like a harsh solution but it is one with the potential to be effective.

There are too many people out there that do not take the time to make sure that their computer is secured.

Some will argue that a solution like this hurts the people who are not technical enough to run antivirus software on their computer but I don’t believe that this argument holds water – we expect people with cars to take them to a mechanic to make sure that everything is safe and if they take the car to an inspection and it fails then the car is not allowed on the road until it passes.

This solution is no different.

If the person is not able to do it themselves then they can take the computer to a professional.

How Would Such A Solution Be Implemented?

The main concern that you hear from people when it comes to a solution like this is how they would implement it.

They fear that the only way that ISP’s will be able to block a computer from the network for reasons of malware is that they will have to examine every piece of data that comes over the network.

They fear that through this examination, the ISP will be able to pick up private details about you.

This can be avoided if they black list the data that they are looking for.

While they will still examine the data that comes through their pipes, which they probably already do anyway, only the offending code would be black listed.

Once the offending, black listed code is located, only then should they be able to access your IP and then start to examine whether they should shut down your account or not.

Users Would Need To Be Warned Before Disconnection

While this idea may not be fool proof it is a good starting point in the discussion of protecting the internet.

While there are some privacy issues that must be sorted out, overall this may be something that is able to be implemented.

But if you start to kick people off of the internet and they do not know why, because the malware is in the background and they see nothing wrong with the computer, then they will start to get upset.

They will not take the time to run a scan on their system to see if there is truly a problem.

When most people think of malware, they think of their computer screwing up.

If they do not see a problem then they do not think that there is one and they will believe that the ISP’s are the ones in the wrong.

This is why you must give them a warning before you do anything as drastic as taking them off of the internet.

If by the end of the warning date, they do not get rid of the malware, then it might be time to kick them off.

About Lee Munson

Lee's non-technical background allows him to write about internet security in a clear way that is understandable to both IT professionals and people just like you who need simple answers to your security questions.

Comments

  1. Daniel Snyder says:

    Another issue to deal with is malware that falls into a grey area. You would have to determine what programs are really a security threat and what are more of a nuisance. There are a lot of so called malwares out there that may not be actually security threats.

  2. What about some sort of redirect? I think this is a complex issue with no simple answer. Somehow users who are not tech savvy enough to figure this out on their own, need someone to force feed them what they need. Rogue products make this task more difficult since those users can not differentiate between legit and fake software… I have lots of questions right now about this one.

    • Theres no doubting that this is an idea that cannot just be implemented tomorrow – you’re right, there are many scenarios and questions that need solutions and answers first.

      But, like I mentioned in the article, if your car is not road worthy then it cannot go on the road and if you don’t know how it got broken, or you don’t know how to fix it…

  3. I have one problem at least with cutting users off from the internet.
    How will they get what they need to remove whatever their computer has if they arent able to use the internet. So many of the available removal tools will not be able to be gotten ahold of so people would have no choice but to pay to get a virus/malware removed.

    • I agree and that is one of the reasons why I don’t think disconnection should be immediate.

      As you point out, getting the cure is the all-important thing here and, perhaps, ISPs should be compelled to at least point users in the right direction as a minimum before they even contemplate cutting off their service?

      • I just wonder if it would be possible for a ISP to direct the user to a website setup with the things available to clean their pc up, not sure if it would be possible or not.
        Then there are the bugs out there that keep you from downloading anything as far as security tools go so that in itself would be a major problem.

        • It certainly wouldn’t be easy to implement such a solution, even though I think it could work.

          That said, what alternatives are there, and why should users not become more responsible for keeping their systems ‘clean’?

          • Users should be more responsible for the security of not only their own computers but other peoples , like the friends they are connected to (thru email,etc).
            I am just not sure of a simple way in pushing users to be that way, you cant force computer users to have security programs, yet i think thats what is going to happen eventually.
            Maybe ISP’s should tighten up even more, so should MS, Yahoo,Google, an all the others, but i doubt that can or will happen.

          • Yes, as always, the problems are obvious but the solutions not so.

            I think banning infected PCs from the net is a solution but the implementation of such a policy is something that I, thankfully, would not have to worry about.

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