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On the Implications of Computer Viruses and Methods of Defense

Fred Cohen
Invited Paper, IFIP-TC11, 'Computers and Security', V7#2
April 1988

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In this paper, we describe much of the previous and present work on computer viruses. We begin with a short history and bibliographic summary. We then describe some of the major issues that arise in the study of computer viruses and their protection ramifications. We describe most of the lines of research presently under way and some of their features and failings. We introduce a method by which certain classes of systems may be used in such a manner as to provide limited protection from computer viruses, and by which general purpose experiments in new protection mechanisms may be explored. Finally, we point out some of the social issues implied by viruses and the ramifications of our present social policies on the integrity of information residing in information systems.

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