Spam on the menu at annual virus conference

Computer viruses and worms will have to share the stage with a new challenger for the attention of attendees at a conference of antivirus researchers: spam e-mail.

Spam -- and how to stop it -- will be a major topic at this year's Virus Bulletin conference in Chicago. The conference is expected to attract the world's leading antivirus researchers, law enforcement personnel and corporate security experts. The interest in spam reflects the increasing prominence of the problem, and the wandering eyes of antivirus technology companies, which are looking to broaden the number of ailments their products address, according to Matt Ham, a technical consultant at Virus Bulletin.

"There's been a lot of movement from just viruses to spam," he said. "People are saying 'We can look for viruses in e-mail, we might as well look for other things, too.'"

Sponsored by the eponymous antivirus industry magazine, Virus Bulletin is one of a small number of technical conferences that cater to the international community of virus researchers and experts.

The gathering caters to those with more than just a passing interest in viruses and malicious code. Presentations at the show have titles such as "Malicious media -- ASF scripting" and "Proactive detection of code injection worms."

The show, in its 14th year, is often noted for its "family atmosphere," with researchers from universities and antivirus companies getting to meet and speak face-to-face after working together remotely to spot and thwart viruses.

But the explosion of malicious code in recent years has changed the show's complexion, Ham said.

"In the past, it was possible for one person to know everything there is to know about viruses," he said. "But now the information that is coming out is much broader. One person can't hope to know everything. So instead of vast detail on a tiny part of one virus, people present papers about broader subjects -- for example, how to prevent viruses that spread through instant messenger."

Conference organizers sifted through 230 paper submissions this year and selected 30 for presentation, Ham said. Of those, six focus on spam or spam-related topics, compared to just one presentation at the 2003 conference.

The show's changing makeup is not an indication of waning interest in viruses and worms, but does reflect the changing interests of those who attend Virus Bulletin, Ham said.

For example, despite increased press attention to spyware and Trojan horse programs, those kinds of malicious code, or "malware," get short shrift at this year's show, possibly because such programs are already easy to detect, Ham said.

"Developers tend to do research on what they consider to be more interesting. Trojans are looked upon as dull," he said.

Virus Bulletin 2004 runs from Sept. 29 to Oct. 1.

Join the newsletter!


Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Paul Roberts

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles


PCW Evaluation Team

Luke Hill


I need power and lots of it. As a Front End Web developer anything less just won’t cut it which is why the MSI GT75 is an outstanding laptop for me. It’s a sleek and futuristic looking, high quality, beast that has a touch of sci-fi flare about it.

Emily Tyson

MSI GE63 Raider

If you’re looking to invest in your next work horse laptop for work or home use, you can’t go wrong with the MSI GE63.

Laura Johnston

MSI GS65 Stealth Thin

If you can afford the price tag, it is well worth the money. It out performs any other laptop I have tried for gaming, and the transportable design and incredible display also make it ideal for work.

Andrew Teoh

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

Touch screen visibility and operation was great and easy to navigate. Each menu and sub-menu was in an understandable order and category

Louise Coady

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

The printer was convenient, produced clear and vibrant images and was very easy to use

Edwina Hargreaves

WD My Cloud Home

I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?