Viruses are viruses

The biological analogy for computer viruses gets ever stronger. It used to be that “virus” was somewhat over-the-top as a description for the simple software hacks that passed for malware. As the world of software grows more complex, however, the description gets ever more apt. Now we begin to see that there are computer-health public policy issues associated with mass immunizations just as there are with “real” viruses. If you don’t get vaccinated for polio, not only are you at risk yourself, but you endanger other unvaccinated people. You are not simply foolish; you are a public health menace. Many vaccines are thus mandated under penalty of law.

Now we find that viruses are being used to infect and enslave (zombify) unprotected computers across cyberspace. Gangs of zombie computers can then be harnessed to do serious mischief. See this article in New Scientist for a discussion of zombie computers: Thousands of zombie PCs created daily.

Ben Hammersley has also written on the concept of two emerging cultures. One part of society knows how to prevent spam, stop time-wasting hoaxes, and eliminate computer virus infections. The other part is woefully ignorant of these things, and, here’s the new part, can now make the smug clever folk very sick. My sick computer can now do you real harm. Are federally mandated computer vaccines far behind?

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