The human immune system as the inspiration for computer anti-virus technology

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If a computer is affected by a virus, and if this computer is connected to the world wide web, this means that all the other computers in the world can also become infected. Therefore, many companies have felt the need to design an “immune system” to protect their computer networks against viruses and have begun to carry out many studies in this field. One of the centers that carries out these studies is the virus isolation laboratory at IBM’s Watson Research Center. This place is a high -security microbiology laboratory that works with lethal viruses. Additionally, the Watson Research Center also produces computer programs that can detect over 12.000 known computer viruses and that can also isolate and destroy these viruses.

IBM is one of the companies that are working to establish a worldwide immunity system to protect the current networks against viruses of the cyber world Steve White, one of the company officials, states that in order to come to a solution regarding this issue, an immune system much like that of the human body needs to be established in the following words:

The only reason that the human race can maintain its existence is the immune  system it has. For the continuation of the cyber world, it is a must to have an immune  system.

Researchers have begun to produce programs that protect computers just like our natural defense system, thanks to the similarities they've discovered between computer networks and living beings. According to them, what we've learned from epidemiology (the field of science which studies epidemics) and immunology (the field of science which studies the immune system), will be able to protect electronic organisms from new dangers, just like living organisms are protected.

Computer viruses are malicious programs designed to enter computers, reproduce by copying themselves and cause harm to the computer they enter. The symptoms of these viruses are sometimes a slow down in the computer system or sometimes mysterious errors in files, just like symptoms seen in various diseases.

Anti-virus programs, which protect your computer system against the virus threat, are basically detection programs that search every line of code in the computer’s memory in order to find the signs of previously defined viruses by the computer. Computer viruses contain indicators that carry the encoder’s signature and that allow them to be identified. When the virus detection program on the computer finds this signature, it gives a warning that the computer is infected.

Still, virus programs do not provide absolute protection for computers,. because some people can design new viruses and launch them into the world wide web within a couple of days. In this situation, anti-virus programs need to be constantly updated and be provided with new information to detect the footprints of new viruses. Therefore, systems must be continuously renewed and new anti-virus programs need to be added against these newly developed computer viruses.

In addition, with the rapid growth of Internet use throughout the world, these viruses have begun to spread with great speed and cause serious harm to computers. The researchers at IBM have found the solution in imitating the examples in nature. First of all, these viruses have an artificial life and just like biological viruses in nature, they use the systems they are inside of their host to increase their numbers. Based on this resemblance, researchers examined how the immune system protects the human body.

When the human body meets with a foreign organism, it begins to produce the antibodies to identify and make the invaders ineffective immediately. The immune system does not have to analyze the whole cell that can cause the disease. When the original infection is handled, the body keeps some of these antibodies on hand in order to be able to respond more quickly the next time. So thanks to these antibodies ready to go to work, there is no need to analyze the whole cell. Likewise, current anti-virus programs contain an antibody that identifies not the whole virus but the signature of the virus only.

As we have seen, the solutions to matters that leave human beings powerless can be found in nature. Our defense system, which has a flawless working structure, has been made ready with the mission to protect us even before we were born. Our Lord is All-Protecting and All-Seeing. It is revealed in one verse:

 

... My Lord is the Preserver of everything.’ (Surah Hud, 57)
 


2011-06-04 13:17:32
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