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Friday, December 17, 2010

The Perfect Virus principle #22: Defense

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 DEFENSE:  The Perfect Virus has defenses that make Sigourney Weaver's Alien monster look like a mildly incontinent house pet. It can be directed to so fundamentally change the DNA of the host system that eradication will destroy the host, intelligently and forever. Think of it as a genetic mix of the fictional Alien and Predator (a la Arnold Schwarznegger) species. Armed with Jesse Ventura's chain gun. In fact, rent or buy and then watch the Aliens vs. Predator DVD. It'll give you some additional virus Defense scenarios to consider.


You now have The Perfect Virus. You maintain Oversight (principle #1) via the Prosumption (principle #11) dashboard. The Perfect Virus is gifted with Self Awareness (principle #3) and combines Feral Fertility (principle #2) with Mutation Control (principle #6). Black Box Portability (principle #7) lets it spawn a Native Implementation (principle #9) of itself on stuff that hasn't even been invented yet. And Stealth (principle #14) means it gives your nightmares their own nightmares. 


You want a scenario? Got Bluetooth? Got a Ford? Boy are you screwed! Consider the plight of the "Russian Mafia" system manager who discovers you are using his server as a zombie to wreak havoc on China. Rather than do something really smart, he decides to pull the plug and take his system off the net:

  1. A countdown timer appears on his SysAdmin screen with the message: "Yo, Ivan Smirnoff, husband of Lena and father of Peter and Violet. You have 120 seconds to get this system back online or a natural gas explosion is going to destroy your home on 666 Gorbachev Boulevard along with anyone in it."
  2. Ivan jumps into action and tries to reach is wife Lena on the cell phone. Ivan hears a recorded message: "I will not allow you to complete a cell phone call or a landline call. You now have 90 seconds to reconnect to the Internet."
  3. Suppose Ivan is a hard case and doesn't believe you. Suddenly his video phone vibrates and shows a military satellite high-resolution image of his house on his street, with a countdown timer. Well, Ivan is feeling a little more confident, because he notices that his wife's new Ford is not parked in the driveway. Like I said, he's a tough cookie and would rather call a bluff than risk the ire of his Russian mob bosses by letting the system go back into zombie mode. Curious though, he watches the timer go to zero and his house go…away in a fireball.
  4. A voice comes from his phone, now in speaker phone mode. "You wife and children are running an errand in your new Ford, as you must have suspected. Too bad the car is using the latest embedded Microsoft operating system. You can hear them but they can't hear you." Ivan is then treated to the panicked voices of his wife and children as the car accelerates and decelerates on its own."
You get the idea. My guess is that Ivan will quickly get his system back up and running, after which a human controller from his Prosumption (principle #11) console can talk Ivan off the ledge and give him a slot for a Parley discussion if he feels he's been immorally treated. Perhaps fearful for his life, he'd appreciate it if assured (in flawless Russian, by the way) that the entire incident had been recorded from the security cameras he didn't even know his employer had installed and will be sent to his boss's boss with the message that Ivan had better stay in good health or far worse things would happen up and down the organization thank you very much and have a nice day.

Suppose a rogue government is trying to backtrack through your virus command and control system? A cyber privateer organization might just turn the probing computers into useless slag. Forever (embed a vicious little destruction bug in every EPROM, every Bluetooth device, every thumb drive). If more sophisticated (ie; hardened) systems are involved and this is not cyber privateering but full blown cyber war, the probing systems might be treated to video from an out-of-control high-speed train about to sail into Beijing at 240 mph.

You've heard of the "no-contact" telephone list (which so-called non-profit organizations seem to ignore anyway). How about a no-contact email or IP address? Buy insurance from a cyber privateering organization that will publish your no-contact data and promise to wreak havoc on any violators? Come on Australia, you could become the world's biggest economy by offering this service! I'd pay $100 a month for such a personal policy. Yo Marc Benioff, I'll bet there are corporations that would pay your death star dot com at least $100,000 per month to eliminate all probes, spam and phishing. Of course, you'd have to move that subsidiary to the host country that issues your Letter of Marque and Reprisal. 

Yep, the best Defense is…an absolutely disproportionate response to bad Internet citizenship. Quoting another of my favorite science fiction authors, Robert Heinlein, "An armed society is a polite society." And let there be no doubt about a new world order and unified government. We didn't need a Ronald Reagan-esque alien invasion to bring about a unified world government. We just needed the Internet. In my opinion, the core constitution of the new world government could begin with The Cyber Privateer Code

To the Chinese and Russian hackers having fun trying to break into my harmless little Linux box, have a nice day. Your nice days may be numbered, and there's nothing at all that the ACLU can do about it.

The best Defense is control of…The Perfect Virus. 

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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?