The Year Ahead: The future of viruses

Tuesday, 31 December 2002, 5:10 PM EST

The year 2002 may have been a relatively quiet for virus attacks, but security experts say that this is likely to be the calm before the storm. In 2003, they say, new breeds of computer attacks are likely to emerge that are capable of knocking out millions of computers around the Internet in a matter of minutes.

"These techniques are now being discussed, and algorithms are being made available," said Mikko Hypponen, manager of anti-virus research at F-Secure. "It's just a matter of time before somebody tries them out in the real world."

The concepts under discussion, Hypponen said, are known as a Warhol worm -- so called because it could create a huge outbreak in 15 minutes -- and a flash worm, which could do the same thing in 15 seconds.

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