Quarantine and taxation to stomp out malware?

Is the quarantine of infected computers and setting up an internet usage tax the way to go about defusing the malware threat? Scott Charney, Corporate Vice President for Trustworthy Computing at Microsoft, seems to think so.

PC World reports that in his keynote at this year’s edition of the RSA Conference in San Francisco – comparing malware to smoking – Charney said that when users accept malware, they are not only putting themselves at risk, but contaminating everyone around them.

Looks like Microsoft has given a lot of thought to ways to make a dent into the massive amount of computers that are tied up in botnets around the world, and even started to do something about it. A few days ago Microsoft’s takedown of the command and control centers of the Waledac botnet through legal means made news, but that is just a small portion of the estimated 3.8 million compromised computers that operate worldwide.

Getting into the swing of things, Charney proposed the inspection and quarantine of the infected computers. Linking computer and human health once again, he mentioned that the healthcare model might be a good starting point for ideas. “With medical diseases, there are education programs, but there are also social programs to inspect people and quarantine the sick,” he said.

But, who would perform this task when it comes to computers? ISPs seem like a the logical answer to that question, but the problem with this scenario is that it would take a lot of money to set this model up and keep it going, and the ISPs’ finances would be drained in no time.

Maybe setting up an Internet usage tax would work well for the cost issue, Charney said. “You could say it’s a public safety issue and do it with general taxation.”