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Saturday, December 11, 2010

The Perfect Virus principle #17: Operational Sophistication

As indicated in my post of Monday, 11/22/2010, I am extrapolating Jeff Walker's Principles for the Perfect Application into a discussion of The Perfect Virus. Since Jeff's monograph on the subject did not anticipate stealth or suicide mechanisms, any errors or lapses into stupidity are solely my additions and should not reflect poorly on what I consider to be the biggest single contribution to software application design since the invention of computers. And Jeff, thanks for giving me permission to do surgery on your baby.
THE PRINCIPLE OF OPERATIONAL SOPHISTICATION:  The Perfect Virus lets armies, teams or individuals use the Prosumption (principle #11) dashboard to work on groups of entity occurrences as though they were single occurrences.


You might manage such entity occurrences with rules and macros written in (forgive me, but I can't resist the opportunity of coming up with a catchy acronym) an Astructural Recon & Raid Generation Hyperlanguage (or, yo ho ho Matey, ARRGH). Of course, every September 19th you can then talk like a pirate. Examples of ARRGH-defined exploits might include:

  1. My Cyber Privateer Fantasy League nominee Marc Benioff might decide that September 19th is the day his Force.com "death star" sends forth a payback package to every IP address that his Letter of Marque and Reprisal allows him to prove attacked his cloud assets over the last year.
  2. A licensed and bonded privateer organization might select one window of time to sweep the bank accounts of every individual member of a criminal enterprise, including corporate shells or sponsoring government organizations. Under the Cyber Privateer Code, they would also have to leave unambiguous parley instructions for each target victim, perhaps on individual social networks as well as on the sponsoring government's parley Web site (Come on Australia, toss a Russian hacker onto the barbie for us!) or even via a major news organization willing to pay the privateers for first access privileges to the information. Heck, there may even be hedge funds who would pay for a 30-minute advance warning of major corporate or government cash confiscations.
  3. Particularly egregious rogue governments might be punished by having every domain name of every one of their citizens stripped from every DNS server by every IP registrar in the world. This of course would need to be sanctioned by the government that issued the Letter of Marque and Reprisal, along with the bonding authority. While this is probably more along the lines of a full-blown cyber war, it still demonstrates ARRGH-driven Operational Sophistication. This exploit would certainly put to shame every one of those Netherlands teenagers who think DDoS is true hacking.
  4. A particularly effective and justifiably famous privateer organization could even publicize the names and addresses of every individual customer of the child porn ring they just took down.
  5. Given the right Black Box Portability (principle #7) assets, a particularly lethal virus could assure that the individuals involved in a child porn ring might be taken off the grid for the rest of their natural lives, to the point that they'll never even complete a cell phone call. Sure, they could buy a knock-off phone somewhere, but a database of all their known phone traffic and the numbers of all their previous associates could be put into play, so that if any of those numbers are called from an anonymously purchased or pre-paid phone, then the call would be disconnected within 30 seconds. And if the pornographer was given or loaned a phone registered to another person, as soon as the voice-recognition module kicked in, that individual's phone privileges would be similarly revoked. Yes, this escapade couldn't possibly be legitimized by even a Letter of Marque and Reprisal, but I for one would loan The Perfect Virus technology to an organization operating out of a country without extradition treaties and with the stated mission to keep child porn individuals off the grid forever. Naturally, they'd get a version of The Perfect Virus that allowed me to oversee their compliance to that mission.
  6. Oh, and as for individuals and organizations involved in human trafficking anywhere in the world, be careful the next time you drive anywhere near an auto wrecking yard. Because a giant electromagnet might just swing over the fence, pick up your car, and drop you into a crusher. Or the next time you feed your credit card into an ATM and enter your PIN code, touching the transaction key could send a million high-wattage volts into your stinking crispy critter body. After all, The Perfect Virus isn't about bits and bytes. It sometimes deals with giant bites and with aggressively thinning the gene pool. Remember, Asimov's rules of robotics do not apply. 
Okay, forget numbers 5 and 6 above, as the novelist in me started spinning hypothetical yarns. Besides, it's not my nature to break laws, which is why I'm pushing for legalization of privateer status. Besides, as I took my after-blog shower, it occurred to me that in the case of child pornographers, I could just have a locator chip installed in them during some benign elective surgery, and hereafter cause any electronic device within 50 feet of them to go haywire. Or maybe I could message any computer or cell phone nearby with their photo and the message "Beware this child pornographer is really close to you, now." Yeah, this could be fun in a novel. As to the real world, though? I'd love to discuss the issues on some talk show with the head of the ACLU. It would be a lively show.

Next week, I will complete this discussion of my 22 principles of The Perfect Virus. Stay tuned.

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Implementation suggestions for THE MORGAN DOCTRINE are most welcome. What are the "Got'chas!"? What questions would some future Cyber Privateering Czar have to answer about this in a Senate confirmation hearing?