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New anti-malware program helping keep camp computers safe


Malware is short for malicious software and refers to software used to disrupt computer operation, gather sensitive information, or gain access to private computer systems. Our massive technological adavncements have introduced correlated vulnerablities never before imagined and indeed, that would be impossible in the old pen-and-paper world.

Fortunately, our advances also include programs meant to disrupt and protect from these disruptios, and compter scince faculty and students have created a new friend to computer users on cmapus and beyond, AMICO:

Roberto Perdisci, an assistant professor of computer science at UGA, and his students call their program AMICO, which means "friend" in Italian, a subtle reference to Perdisci's Italian roots. AMICO works by automatically analyzing the origin of every executable file downloaded on the UGA computer network in real time to determine if it might be dangerous.

"AMICO is unique because it doesn't actually look at the contents of the downloaded files," Perdisci said. "Other malware programs scan files to see if they contain computer code that might be malicious, but our program looks at patterns associated with a file's origin site and determines whether it is dangerous based on data we have collected about that site in the past."

The AMICO software also automatically creates an anonymous tag for machines that download potentially harmful files, and it does not store any personal information about individual users.

"AMICO does not need to know who downloaded the file; it only knows if there is a potential threat to a computer on our network," Perdisci said. "If a threat is detected, this information is passed to UGA's Information Security team."

Bravi, Dr. Perdisci. And grazie por AMICO.

Image: Roberto Perdisci, UGA

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