As any tech-head will know, there are plenty of recent PCs that run speedy and efficient multicore CPUs, but who would have thought that such chips will soon be appearing in mobile phones, cars and HD TV players and that they could hold the key to eliminating computer viruses?

According to NEC Japan, its new technique [Subscription link] for running software in separate processes on each core of a multicore CPU opens the door to stopping a virus before it spreads throughout any internet-connected device.

Core lockdown

The firm's unnamed technology is designed to spot a viral infection in any one of the software processes and to shut down operations in that core immediately. This prevents the virus from spreading to the rest of the system while allowing the device as a whole to carry on working.

Anti-virus software can then tackle the problem in isolation or hold it in place until any updates needed can be downloaded from the internet.

NEC's aim in making online devices safer is to encourage device makers to buy its multicore chips and use them in future products, but if it stops viruses in their tracks then it's all fine by us.