Catching the computer virus
Biology teaches us that species with little genetic variation called monocultures are the most vulnerable to catastrophic epidemics.
Populations that share a single fatal flaw, such as the lack of immunity to smallpox, can and have been wiped out by a virus capable of exploiting that flaw.
Genetic diversity in the population increases the chances of survival, and the same can be said of software in today’s increasingly connected but hostile environment.
A PC sneezes in China and 12 hours later, 100 million computers decide to call in sick with the flu.
When copies of the Windows source code escaped into the wild last week, observers started to worry that the stolen code would provide a potential springboard for even more serious virus and worm exploits than those we have witnessed over the past 12 months.
By Simon Moores at MicroScope.
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- Review: Viruses Revealed (28 April 2003)