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RE: E-mail virus free tags (Was: SHUT THE F**K UP)
From: "Andrew Aris" <andrew () dev bigfishinternet co uk>
Date: Thu, 25 Mar 2004 14:46:08 -0000


This has been something I've wondered about for a while, its a good 
idea for e-mails to carry some kind of "passed" tag from AV systems 
only if it actually means something. Which as just a plain text, 
easily duplicatable signature it doesn't in-fact as recent Netsky 
variants are busy proving its worse than not having it. So 
why don't 
the AV vendors use for example PGP to sign mails? Surely 
this would give the process some meaning?

Sorry -- this is a moronic idea.

_What_ value does it add?

Say we even managed to securely include the scanning time- & 
date- stamp, the name and version of the scanner engine and 
.DEF/.DAT/etc files and even important information such as 
"scanned using most gnarly heuristics level" or "used 
aggressive scan mode", etc...

What would that buy us?

It would tell us that a product that was _by definition_ out 
of date at the time it did the scanning, and a product that 
is _by definition_ unable to detect all possible viruses, 
failed to detect a virus in this message.

Whoopdie fucking doooo!

And you want us to waste gazillions of CPU cycles worldwide 
every minute, adding all these worthless signatures to Email 
messages and even more cycles optionally "authenticating" them?

Man -- whatever it is you are on, you should find a new supplier...


errr.. thanks for that Nick. Can I suggest you lay off the caffeine for the
rest of the day? You seem a little agitated is all ;-)

My post was just a suggestion, no particular need to get offensive about it.
Fair enough you don't think its a smart idea and you make some excellent
points (at least I'm pretty sure that I saw some amidst all that biting
sarcasm and swearing) so I'm now inclined to agree with you. Sure enough all
you gain from it is that notion that you can choose to trust the AV vendor
rather than just the sender and the situations where that could be useful
are probably really quite rare.

I wasnt even really seriously suggesting that it be taken up as a standard
practice, after all as you point out the resource costs of doing so would be
very high compared with the really quite small gain. I was more puzzled as
to why the AV vendors who have gone down the "rubber stamp" route haven't
chosen to implement something more than a plain text sign.

I'm sure at some point in your life Nick you must have come up with the
occasional bad idea and then realised it for what it was when someone
pointed out something to you so try and keep a little perspective.

On reflection perhaps the post was something of a newbie question - one that
would have been better posted on Security Basics. I posted on FD purely
because it seemed to follow on from something I had seen on here.

regards,

Andrew



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