Sophos blocks fun apps

Sysadmins are so annoyed by distributed computing apps that Sophos has created a new tool to block the programs

System administrators are so annoyed by distributed computing apps that Sophos has created a new tool to block the programs.

A survey of admins by Sophos found that applications such as SETI@home, BBC Climate Change Experiment and the World Community Grid were rated by 89% of those polled as worthy of blocking. These came in just marginally ahead of instant messaging, peer-to-peer and voice-over-IP software, more traditional bugbears of the admin community.

But from now on, customers of Sophos’ Application Control extension to its antivirus client will be able to spot, and stop dead, these applications on any PC running

the protection.

Distributed applications, such as SETI@home, are a class of software designed to perform useful, often scientific, tasks during quiet periods when a PC is switched on but doing no other work. Most are based on BOINC (Berkeley Open Infrastructure for Network Computing). Other examples of the BOINC genre include worthies such as Einstein@home (a project to find Neutron stars) and a number of climate-prediction systems.

The downside of running such apps, however, is that they can chew up bandwidth and interfere with other applications on business PCs.

Admins are also under pressure to ensure even innocent unauthorised data is not sent out of the network. The popular SETI@home has also been the target of exploits in the past.

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