I do hope your sarcasm meter works....  :)


                       VIRII AND NATIONAL SECURITY

                  Copyright (C) 1992 Homer Wilson Smith
                    There are no Rights, only Duties.

      (Have I posted this yet?  God I hope not.  I'll never live it down.


>     There is of course much room for an arms race here, with viruses
>being written to escape detection by existing anti-stealth methods,
>anti-virus programs getting cleverer anti-stealth, and so on.  I'd
>advise Ken not to let the discussion of possible methods get too
>detailed here in public!  *8)

      Dear Gentlemen,

      The bitnet and usenet mailing lists are distributed on a world wide
basis to anyone who has a connection.  This includes irresponsible
students, repressive foreign governments, international terrorist
groups, religious fanatics, psychotic killers and other people of
unstable mental tendencies or any one else who might want to harm
America or mankind.

      Computer viruses are probably the single most dangerous phenomenon
to come along since nuclear power and weaponry.  They are covert, hard
or impossible to detect by the normal human, and they can invade
secretly and do their damage months after they have been allowed to
spread and infect entire communities.

      Worse, their vectors are human beings who have little to no
understanding of the computers they use or what viruses are or how to
deal with them.

      They are created both on a lark by people who have no idea of the
damage that they might wreck, and by people who are deadly serious about
destroying or taking over our country or the planet.

      One computer virus in the right place could disable or control our
entire national defense system.

      There are two primary differences between computer viruses and a
real biological virus.

      The first difference is that a computer virus must be actively
created by an intelligent human being, and in fact are trivially easy to
create by anyone with a 10th grade education.  School children could
conceivably create them as a prank against their own kind, a prank that
might have devastating effects on the outcome of global history.

      Computer viruses once created must then be intentionally
infiltrated to the systems of other unsuspecting human beings, and then
actually and physically executed by those other human beings.  A
computer virus on a shelf or on an unused disk is harmless.

      Biological viruses on the other hand are very difficult to create,
and get created on their own anyhow by the natural processes of
evolution.  They do not need to be intentionally spread by humans, and
in fact will grow and replicate even if no one has anything to with
them.  The wind can carry them to infect another host.  Humans do not
need to be in the loop except as the final infectee.

      Computer viruses once found are very easy to eradicate and systems
can then be protected from being infected again by the same virus.
Biological viruses on the other hand are very difficult to eradicate and
reinfection is always possible.

      Lastly however, the damage done by the computer virus is limited to
the data on the machine, and usually does not destroy the machine
itself.  With proper backups the damage caused by a computer virus can
be minimized.  Biological viruses on the other hand can and often do
cause the terminal death of the infected host.

      This might give one cause to think that computer viruses are just
not that bad when compared to biological viruses.  However, think again.

      The SECOND big difference between a computer virus and a biological
virus is as follows.

      When a biological virus infects its host, its effects are usually
limited to rendering inoperable certain functions of the host or
destroying it completely.

      A computer virus on the other hand can TOTALLY TAKE OVER THE HOST,
and with out damaging any part of it, that is it can put all of its
total functionality to use for its own purposes!

      Imagine a human virus that when it took over the host, did not harm
it or lessen its abilities, but instead took over the human's INTENTION,
and turned him into a evil raiding marauding robot.

      As the world becomes more and more computer literate, more and more
software is being written for computers to do work much too complex for
humans to do, and work that is too dangerous to allow the frailties and
mistakes of a human to creep in.  Consider the computers that run the
nuclear power plants and can shut them down in a millionth of a second
if something is not right.

      The more software you put into computers, the bigger the computers
are, the more powerful and functional they become.  The functionality of
present day computers is so immense that the fate of the world literally
lies in the balance and well meaning of their bits and bytes.

      For years people have reveled in horror stories such as 'Fail Safe'
which detailed in great agony the fact that computers were not indeed
fail safe.  The slightest programming error, or misconception of
protocol could lock humans out of the decision loop and start or fail to
stop a nuclear war.

      Now let's consider another scenario, which is that the computers
ARE fail safe but totally devoted to the evil ends of a demented
programmer who made no mistakes.  How would you stop such a computer?
It could wait quiescently for years for the day that some nut signed on
through some backdoor and gave the command to kill.

      Do you have even the faintest notion how much RAW THERMO NUCLEAR
POWER is controlled by the KILL command of present day computers?

      It is a very small step to imagine that one day an intelligently
designed computer virus could infiltrate such a computer system, and
take over all of its years and years and years of programmed ability and
totally devote that computer towards the ends of the demented soul who
wrote that virus.

      Like it or not national security and winning war today is based on
knowledge, technical knowledge of the physical universe, how it runs,
how to use it, and how to destroy it in the enemy's hands.

      Every piece of technical knowledge there is one way or another goes
into the huge make up of physical wisdom that allows us to remain secure
from our enemies and dominate the land with our weaponry, communication
lines and brute force.

      Those with the force of the stars and the computers to guide them
will be winners in this race to the top.

      To the degree that we have such knowledge and others don't, we are
that much more secure from the onslaught of foreign hoards and foreign
philosophies; that many more days that we can live in freedom and avoid
the dark night of slavery.

      Therefore such knowledge of the physical universe is and should be
considered critical for National Security purposes.  To have such
knowledge known by everyone, to be widely spread all over the world by
every computer mailing list, would be tantamount to treason and self

      You wouldn't want our enemies knowing what we know about nuclear
weaponry, lasers, encryption, biological warfare or other super secret
methods of communication and self defense.

      So why then do you wantonly spread data about computer viruses
which are endlessly more dangerous in the long run than all the rest of
the above mentioned items?

virus is the missing link that the enemy needs to downright take control
over all our weaponry without even knowing how it all works!

      Yes viruses today are relatively benign and primitive, but they are
being nurtured and grown in the bubbling cauldron of our schools and
play yards of the country.  How many times in recent history have you
heard of a couple of kids getting arrested for making and setting a
virus free?  How long does it take for a virus to be made at Cornell to
get to Japan?  What was the vector?  Was it top secret research into
fields that no one can pronounce let alone spell?  No, it was GAMES!

      At present time, kids are a major creator of viruses and a major
vector of viruses.  How would you feel about letting your kids go to a
school where all the children were harboring, growing and designing cold
viruses and passing them onto their playmates as practical jokes?  You
would take this very seriously, no?

      You certainly would not be teaching your children how to make
biological viruses or giving them the biological warfare tools to make

      Giving a child a chemistry set for Christmas is possibly one thing,
but giving them a biological warfare set is quite another.

      Yet the worst a biological virus can do is kill you.  A computer
virus can ENSLAVE you, or the machines that it infects, and then THEY
will kill you.

      And here we have school children immersed in computers and the
tools of virus production from a very early age.

      Would you allow your children to play with a nuclear reactor, or
rocket fuel, or seething cauldrons of biological goo coming alive?

      No of course not.

      But without removing all computers from the class room and the
general public at large, how are you going to control the spreading
infection of really serious computer viruses, especially the many that

      There's a lot of arrogant people in this field, 'Oh we have it all
under control, we can detect anything that might infect your computer!'

      Very comforting.  Are they in the pay of the people writing the
viruses?  Or are the people writing the viruses in the pay of the people
who make their living defending us against viruses?

      Given the above information I would recommend that all data about
viruses become classified top secret information strictly controlled by
the government.  All broad public issue of information concerning
viruses should immediately be banned and punishable under criminal
statutes, and all computer mailing lists including this one (virus-l) be
shut down and all books on computer viruses that are available to the
public immediately be withdrawn from the shelves and put out of print.

      Further all anti viral software should be taken out of the
commercial private sector and placed into the hands of the government.
There should be one government agency to oversee and control the
production of anti viral software and they should be the sole source of
such software to the public.

      Further laws should be passed regulating the sale and ownership of
personal computers.  Every personal computer should be registered with
the government with an appropriate licensing fee.  Purchase of the
authorized anti viral software and training in its use should be
mandatory, the expense to be paid by the owner of the computer.

      If you want to be the owner of a possible vector for world
destruction then you must take some responsibility for your decision.
Other people's lives and safety are at stake.

      Proceeds from such licensing fees and sales would go towards
administration of the anti viral regulations and the law enforcement
agencies responsible for hunting down and bringing computer criminals to

      In this day and age, the price of freedom is eternal vigilance and
a little more government.

      Your right to free speech ends when the knowledge that you speak
can be used by our enemies to harm us.

      Homer Wilson Smith

Fri Jan 30 13:34:54 EST 2015