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:

VB2017 call for last-minute papers opened

Today, we open the call for last-minute papers for VB2017. Submit before 3 September to have your abstract considered for one of the ten slots reserved for 'hot' research.

Five reasons to come to VB2017 in Madrid

We're not ones to make bold claims about our conference, and we suggest you ask past attendees for their opinion, but here are five reasons why we think you should come to VB2017 in Madrid.

DMARC: an imperfect solution that can make a big difference

US Senator Ron Wyden has asked the Department of Homeland Security to implement DMARC. Martijn Grooten looks at what difference this could make for phishing attacks impersonating the US federal governent.

Advanced and inept persistent threats to be discussed at VB2017

Unsurprisingly given today's threat landscape, the VB2017 programme contains several talks on various advanced persistent threats - but also a talk on what may be the polar opposite of such threats: an inept persistent threat.

Password security is 1% choosing a half-decent password, 99% not using it anywhere else

Password security advice focuses too much on password strength and too little on avoiding password reuse, Martijn Grooten argues.