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Truth About Computer Security Hysteria

A 'Y2K virus' conversation

Rob Rosenberger, Vmyths co-founder
Sunday, 26 December 1999


Y2K VIRUSES WILL destroy the Internet on New Year's Day!  
  On what evidence do you base this claim?
I monitored two virus writers in an AOL chat room.  
  Which two virus writers?
I didn't catch their names.  
  Ah, of course. And they'll somehow destroy the Internet?
Yes, they said virus writers around the world will spread horrible Y2K viruses. Thousands of them. Possibly hundreds of thousands.  
  What exactly will these horrible Y2K viruses do?
Why, they'll destroy every PC connected to the Internet, of course.  
  Using round-robin logic, no doubt. Update your antivirus software to detect & eradicate them.
It won't help. These deadly Y2K viruses don't exist yet.  
  Waitaminit. You want us to freak out over a vaporware virus?
These are no ordinary malicious programs. We're talking about deadly Y2K viruses here. Hundreds of thousands of them.  
  Yeah, so I've heard. What do you recommend?
I think everyone should turn off their PCs on New Year's Eve.  
  Forever?
No, just for 24hrs or so.  
  "Or so"?
Some computers may need to remain off for longer periods.  
  Why?
Because of time zone differences. Better safe than sorry.  
  Ah, of course. And shutting down will somehow help?
Certainly! It will stop Y2K viruses from attacking.  
  Attacking on New Year's Day, you mean.
Obviously.  
  So why can't a Y2K virus strike on, say, January 6th?
Because it's a "Y2K virus," don't you get it? It would be an ordinary virus if it struck on any other day.  
  Ah, of course. Will antivirus vendors shut off their PCs on New Year's Day?
No, they'll remain online to monitor the death of the Internet.  
  Won't their own PCs get attacked by Y2K viruses?
Every PC on the Internet will get attacked. No exceptions.  
  How will these guys survive if their own antivirus software fails them?
They're "antivirus experts," don't you get it? They save PCs for a living.  
  So why don't we all just protect our PCs like the antivirus experts do?
It'll never work. Regular users like us aren't that smart.  
  Oh, I'll agree with you on that point...