How will we ever get a leg up on hackers who are infecting computers
worldwide? Microsoft’s security chief laid out several suggestions Tuesday,
including a possible Internet usage tax to pay for the inspection and quarantine
of machines. Today most hacked PCs run Microsoft’s Windows operating system, and
the company has invested millions in trying to fight the problem.

Microsoft recently used the U.S. court system to shut down the Waledac botnet,
introducing a new tactic in the battle against hackers. Speaking at the RSA
security conference in San Francisco, Microsoft Corporate Vice President for
Trustworthy Computing Scott Charney said that the technology industry needs to
think about more "social solutions." That means fighting the bad guys at several
levels, he said. "Just like we do defense in depth in IT, we have to do defense
in depth in [hacking] response."

"I actually think the health care model … might be an interesting way to
think about the problem," Charney said. With medical diseases, there are
education programs, but there are also social programs to inspect people and
quarantine the sick. This model could work to fight computer viruses too, he
said. When a computer user allows malware to run on his computer, "you’re not
just accepting it for yourself, you’re contaminating everyone around you," he
said.

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