Monday, 28 Sep, 2009 Technology
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Researchers Study Ants to Develop New Gen Computer Anti-virus Software

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Researchers have analyzed the behavior of ants in order to come up with a new gen of anti-virus software for computers. Scientists observed the ants' response when their colony was in danger, which brought them to the idea of creating a new tool against computer worms and computer viruses.

It was found that ants used so-called "swarming intelligence" to frighten intruders. As soon as one ant detects a threat, the insect is joined by a large number of other ants, thus being able to overpower the attacker. A similar strategy serves as core for developing new generation security software. Researchers from Wake Forest University, North Carolina, US, are currently testing their strategy. They launch "digital ants" that are searching computer networks for invaders.

When one digital ant managed to identify threat it instantly calls for reinforcements to join the battle. Scientists hope that their new anti-virus software will run faster than commonly used anti-virus programs that require constant updates in order to be able to detect new computer viruses or worms.

According to researcher Glenn Fink, the main idea is to set up 3,000 different types of digital ants that will look for various potential threats. "As they move about the network, they leave digital trails modeled after the scent trails ants in nature use to guide other ants," said Fink. He added that when a digital ant spots threat, it leaves behind a stronger scent that draws more digital ants. The group of digital ants creates a swarm that that marks a possible computer infection.

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