What does the world cost? Oh well, then we'll just take a small coke.

Monday, March 09, 2009

Computer Virus Monday

What? Viruses, seriously?


Everyone knows that you need a good antivirus program so you won't lose your hard drive. That's common sense. But many people fail to consider the possible implications of an Apocalypse Virus - a computer worm designed to put an end to modern society's way of life. Such a virus would put everyone in the planet in grave danger. You and your family must be prepared with a solid Computer Virus Survival Plan.

What are viruses? According to the internet:

"A computer virus is a computer program that can copy itself and infect a computer without the permission or knowledge of the user."

They're like the computer version of catchy tunes that get stuck in your head, so you unconsciously hum them and get them stuck in other people's heads. Viruses can be fairly innocuous, but most are designed either for malicious or piratical reasons. There are a host of possible effects of computer viruses, but what really sets each one apart these days isn't so much what it does, it's how it gets there. The virus-antivirus arms race is a fierce one, with both sides constantly inventing new and more sophisticated ways of blocking or bypassing each other. If a virus actually breaks through the defenses it considers itself the victor. It does a few uncreative/obvious little stunts like corrupting your hard drive and uploading your personal information to pirates, then copies itself and uses your system to spread itself to all your friends.

Such viruses are annoying but not threatening to the social order. The fact that we have never faced any serious Apocalypse viruses has lured most of us into a false sense of security. Few people truly grasp the degree to which virus-susceptible software controls our lives. Our cell phone alarms wake us up; we listen to digital radio as we dress; we use smart microwaves and coffeemakers; we drive in smart cars through smart traffic intersections; we use credit cards and mp3 players and XBOX 360s. A widespread virus attack would be able to spread itself very quickly over most of the industrialized world and shut it down. Consider this worst-case scenario:

The Scenario

An anarchist cyber terror group based in Berlin uploads the ARM-262 virus, notable for its incredible flexibility which lets it adapt itself to attack almost any binary-based system and can spread prolifically. It can also be patched remotely by new uploads from Berlin, allowing it to stay ahead of countermeasures. It corrupts and shuts down everything it touches. National and private responses to the spreading virus come too little, too late. Within twenty-four hours, the industrial world is unable to use anything that was capable of accessing the internet or existed on a network (no matter how remote) containing internet access.

Even land line telephones drop out as computerized switchboards catch the virus. Cell phones turn into little plastic bricks. Email, texting, instant messaging, faxing - it's all out of the question. Communication grinds to a halt; and in a society in which texting across a room is commonplace, infastructure collapses.

Delivery and transportation (which use computer-generated schedules) are thrown out of wack. Trains collide when track controls go dark. Planes are lost in the wide open expanse of air space or circle an airport until they run out of fuel, then ditch. Smart cars become unresponsive and disoriented, causing a host of peculiar behaviors from less responsive brakes to the loss of onboard navigation. Major roadways become clogged with massive multiple-car pileups. Lighthouses shut down and boats run aground or get lost in the fog.

The electrical grid goes dark. Fuel pumps quit working. Banks shut down and electronic assets vanish. Many shops and restaurants close their doors as their registers act up. Credit/ATM cards are rendered worthless. Schools and government offices shut down. Military units are cut off and assume the worst, initiating poorly coordinated forceful responses to threats that don't exist.

Power plants explode or melt down as computerized safety protocols power down.

The Response

Crashes. Explosions. No communication. Nuclear meltdowns. Rogue military operations. Industrialized civilization topples and collapses. Getting the picture? Now - what do you do about it?

First, there's no reason to destroy or get rid of your electronics, but use some common sense about it. Keep paper records of important documents and keep them in a safe in your home - not at the bank. Disconnect from the internet when you're not using it. And above all, be ready for the virus strike.

When it comes, you'll have no need for anything powered by electricity. It will be decades before any of that stuff comes back. Don't try to communicate or travel by car - use nothing larger than a bike. Get away from metropolitan areas and form a survival party.

Think in terms of stone age understanding, as if you were rebuilding civilization from square one. Welcome new additions to your clan if they are willing to submit. If they are not, crush them without remorse. Guard your territory fiercely and scout nearby areas - including the nearest city - aggressively. Be sure you know what's going on so you can react to it in time. The return of electricity, a nearby clan raiding for food - these things should all come naturally.

The process of surviving in these conditions is complicated and extensive - beyond the scope of this post. Here's the main thing to remember - you need to know where you'll go when ARM-262 hits, and you need to be ready for it so you recognize it before general panic ensues. When you see it, act with the greatest possible swiftness. Running at full speed for the nearest exit is absolutely appropriate.

Get out, stay out, rebuild. Eventually the golden age of man will come again.

Want a Monday all to yourself? Comment with a topic you want included and we may provide our free expert analysis.

1 comment:

sean.b said...

What about the very real, though very misunderstood mutant insect apocylpse? I haven't heard any preparation being made for this! Shame on you! This needs to be addressed at all costs!