Thursday, December 15, 2005

Alien viruses

Is there any way we can strip a Doctorate from someone absolutely clueless?

Dr. Carrigan believes that the Internet is wide open to infection from alien (as in off-world) computer viruses. I have problems with a number of his anthropomorphised assumptions:

  • Where'd they get the 8086-series chips? Dr. Carrigan seems to assume that silicon and the various doping elements are as plentiful there as they are here.
  • Are they running Microsoft Windows? If so, how are they getting their updates? I assume they'd be easy to track on Patch Tuesday. Also, I believe Bill would like a word with them about licensing. Actually, taking into account the speed of light, it means that Windows was in use decades (if not centuries or millenia) before it's availability here on Earth. We may need to talk to Bill about his patents and licensing practices.
  • Infection by off-planet source would happen in one of two ways: either intentionally or accidentally. If intentional, it means they know we're here and network infection is likely to be the least of our problems. (Somebody call Tom Cruise!!) If unintentional, we need to prompt the anti-virus industry that they need to start including sub-routines to counteract alien worms and viruses.
  • If there is a risk of infection from exterrestial sources, what risk do we pose to the galactic community with the problems that we have in our networks? Could that be why no one has contacted us yet? (All claims by the UFO community aside.)

In any case, I hereby nominate Dr. Carrigan to be the recipient of a Reynolds Wrap hat. Shiny side out, dude!

Update: the above is a bit dated and lived in my slush pile for a bit but is still amusing.