Wireless Flu

The outbreak of a wireless computer worm that spreads among portable devices like a flu epidemic is a possibility, according to a new mathematical model developed by Imperial College London researcher Christopher Rhodes and BT researcher Maziar Nekovee. Their model considers a group of people carrying Bluetooth-enabled smartphones, each of which has a fixed range for linking to other phones in the crowd. Each member of the crowd moves in a straight line and at a fixed speed, giving a phone that is contaminated by a worm a fixed likelihood of infecting other devices while they are within range. Rhodes and Nekovee’s work demonstrates that a wireless worm could most efficiently proliferate in a crowded environment and also jump between geographically scattered locations, just like a real virus. “Knowledge that person-to-person contact, or rather device-to-device contact, represents a major factor in how a Bluetooth worm spreads is definitely important,” says Symantec Security Response researcher Eric Chien. He adds that the disablement of non-essential Bluetooth communications during an outbreak “reduces the contact occurrences and would be analogous to wearing a surgical mask in areas of potential infection.” Source: ACM TechNews.

This interesting NewScientistTech article is here: Wireless worms will follow influenza’s example.

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