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Researchers, Government Organisations and Vendors Exhange Information in the Fight against Computer Viruses at AVAR'99

First published: 10th November 1999

Report of the Second AVAR Conference

The second AVAR (Association of Anti-Virus Asia Researchers) Conference was held in Seoul, Korea on the 28 and 29 October. There were about 50 participants, and speakers came from as far as the USA.

Seiji Murakami (JCSR, AVAR Chairman, Japan) and Charles Ahn (Dr. Ahn's Anti-Virus Laboratories Inc., AVAR Vice Chairman, Korea) opened the conference and welcomed the participants. Mr. Murakami gave his vision for the development of AVAR in preventing the spread of and damage caused by computer viruses by exchanging information around the Asia Pacific region. He hoped to see local branches established in each country to provide local activities and information. Dr. Ahn highlighted the importance of real-time exchange of information to respond to increasing damage caused by viruses.

Chul Soo Lee (President, Korea Information Security Agency, Korea) warned of the trend from viruses written for fun or showing off to cyber-crime. He said that technical and legal standards were necessary to prevent this, and the Korean Government was working on it and they would help and co-operate with AVAR.

Mr. Cho Kyu-Hong (Trend micro Korea) spoke on behalf of Richard Ku (Trend micro, USA) and described the issues involved in developing anti-virus software for three versions of Microsoft Exchange, 5.5, 5.5 SP3 and 2000.

Masaaki Kimura (Ministry of International Trade and Industry, Japan) talked about security policy and anti-virus activities in Japan. He covered the guidelines issued, Japanese law and the growing number of reports of damage received. He said that the Japanese Government would contribute in the fight against viruses and would assist AVAR.

Allan Dyer (Yui Kee, Hong Kong) addressed the problem of a generation gap in computer knowledge, which could lead to children getting into inappropriate computer activities, including virus writing. He called for improvements in school curricular to include IT ethics, safety and security.

Seok Chul Kwon (HAURI, Korea) reviewed the development of anti-virus technology and it's future.

Han Tae Kim (Symantec, Korea) looked at virus trends and outlined a digital immune system.

The second day started with Motoaki Yamamura (Symantec, USA), who demonstrated the increased speed of spread of worms and discussed the changes in policies that would be necessary if we had a new worm every week or every minute.

Chae Ho Lim (Korea Information Security Agency, Korea) reported on security incident response and anti-virus activities in Korea. He described the organisations that exist in Korea, including CERTCC-KR and CONCERT, their relationships and connections with similar organisations abroad. CIH hit Korea particularly badly, with 160,000 to 240,000 activations; Mr. Chae described how the incident developed and the lessons to be learnt.

Motoi Endo (JCSR, Japan) talked about anti-virus policies, the difficulties of getting users to follow them and some ideas to help.

Allan Dyer described his experiences in preparing and teaching a module on viruses and worms for a course on Information and Internet security. He suggested that the course material he prepared, with improvements, could become the basis of a "common body of knowledge" for anti-virus professionals.

Closing the conference, Charles Ahn (Dr. Ahn's Anti-Virus Laboratories Inc., Korea), a medical doctor turned anti-virus researcher and a famous person in Korea for developing the first Korean anti-virus software, took us through the history of computer viruses in Korea.

The AVAR 2000 conference will be held in Japan. More information on AVAR can be found at