Note: This column represents the opinions
of the writer and as such, is not represented as fact|
Along with the threat from US DOJ prosecutors, the Open Source software
movement, and a general groundswell of unease with the company's new
software licensing; Microsoft appears to also be facing a bioterrorism
the contents of Aardvark's "million-dollar ideas" notebook
are revealed for all to see!
According to reports published on the weekend, an envelope containing nudie
pictures and anthrax spores has been sent from a Malaysian address to an MS
office in Nevada.
Workers who might have come in contact with the spores have taken medical
tests to see whether they are infected -- the results should be known
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So, was this just someone who has been pushed over the edge by one too many
blue screens of death? Or is it an acknowledgement that the commercial
infrastructure of the West is now so heavily reliant on Microsoft code that
terrorists felt a symbolic attack was warranted?
Although this low-level biological attack was clearly ineffective, perhaps
we ought step back for a moment and consider what would/will happen if/when
anti-American crackers find the first holes in Windows XP and begin exploiting
them by way of viral attacks.
So far, even the most effective of the computer worms and viruses we've seen
have all suffered from stupid oversights that have severely limited their
capability to inflict harm on the systems they infect.
Code Red was stupid enough to hard-code the IP number for the Whitehouse.gov
website rather than use the domain name -- so the Feds were able to side-step
the attack by simply changing that IP. This effectively tripped up what
could have been a massive distributed denial of service attack.
Even the Love Bug worm had some fundamental programming errors that effectively
limited its ability to wreak havoc.
Now what happens if these crazy pro-Taliban crackers do their homework and
get it right?
A covert worm and/or virus that spreads slowly and silently, gradually winding
its way into XP-based computer systems right across the Western world, using
the undoubted security holes that all new software has is a real possibility.
Then, at a specific time or in response to a single cue -- it leaps into action
and starts subtly corrupting data, such that the changes are so small and sparse
they go unnoticed and make their way into the backup systems of major corporations.
A few months later, a full-blown melt-down could be triggered -- deleting
files and screwing up databases.
Of course restoring backups would not solve the problem because those backups
would still have the subtle corruptions that will render the data in them
The cost to business would be incredible. The effects would be widespread
Anthrax? Forget it. Cyber-terrorism (done properly) is a far more dangerous
But beware of powdery attachments to your snail-mail all the same ;-)
Banksie Knows His Stuff
There's a piece of law on the books that says candidates must pull down their
billboards and stop all advertising immediately prior to an election.
This weekend we had local body elections and, at first glance, all the candidates
appear to have followed the rules and stopped their pitches the day before the
election was held -- but what about their websites?
Well a quick check on Saturday showed that Christine Fletcher and Matt
McCarten's websites were still up and promoting those candidates -- but
wiley old John Banks' site looked like
Funny isn't it -- after an almost complete lack of attention to detail
in respect to his website's design, he was the only one who followed the
letter of the law.
Save The Aardvark Fund
Yes, I have had several donations to the Aardvark fund and I thank those
who put their money where their mouse is :-)
If guilt is gnawing away inside you then there's still time to donate.
Just drop by and
hand over your loot.
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