Throwback Thursday: A troubled world

Posted by   Helen Martin on   Feb 9, 2017

In early 1991, the world was a troubled place – President George H. W. Bush had just announced the start of military Operation Desert Storm and conflict and violence were being reported globally on a daily basis. With this as a backdrop, the world of "indiscriminate" computer viruses which "victimise in a random and unpredictable manner" seemed relatively trivial to then Editor of VB, Edward Wilding, who, for this reason, suggested shelving references to the 'computer virus war' or '[cyber] warfare'.

In an editorial piece for VB, while hinting at greater, more destructive possibilities for the use of malware, Edward Wilding called for virus writers to take responsibility for their actions: "The people who develop and propagate viruses should, at the very least, realise that they are responsible for impeding other peoples' freedom, creativity and progress indiscriminately."

Throwback-Thursday-VB.jpg

Today, the world is still a troubled place, with conflict, violence and uncertainty pervading in far too many corners of the globe. However, we are now also aware of the fact that malware really can be used in warfare, with governments known to have colluded on pieces of code designed to infiltrate industrial infrastructure and cause damage and disruption in other nations.

Actual cyber warfare, combined with the high-value industry that malware has become (estimated costs to the global economy running to billions of dollars), make the threat landscape very different from the one VB's editor wrote about 26 years ago, and we now face some very different challenges. Nevertheless, his sage words still ring true: "every responsible course of action by every individual, whatever his particular field of interest or knowledge, serves to lessen the world's problems in some small but significant way".

Read Edward's observations here in HTML-format, or download the article here as a PDF.

twitter.png
fb.png
linkedin.png
googleplus.png
reddit.png

 

Latest posts:

Mostly blocked, but still good enough: Necurs sending pump-and-dump spam

The Necurs botnet has started sending pump-and-dump spam. Almost all of these emails are blocked by spam filters, yet the stock price still increased.

Why the SHA-1 collision means you should stop using the algorithm

Realistically speaking, if your software or system uses the SHA-1 hashing algorithm, it is unlikely that it will be exploited in the foreseeable future. But it is also extremely difficult to be certain that your system won't be the exception.

VB2017 Call for Papers: frequently asked questions

The call for papers for VB2017, which takes place 4 to 6 October in Madrid, Spain, is currently open. We're always on the look out for new speakers and new content, so to help anyone who's unfamiliar with the VB conference, we've prepared a list of…

Throwback Thursday: Michelangelo - Graffiti Not Art

This week marked the 25th anniversary of the trigger date of the infamous Michelangelo virus. In January 1992, VB published an analysis of the boot sector virus that captured the imagination of the press and kicked up a media storm.

How are you defending your network? Come and tell us at VB2017!

Is it your job to defend your company’s network? Are you defending a government’s systems? Do you help secure the devices used by activists operating in less open societies? Do you work with abuse victims targeted by spyware? Share your experiences…