View Full Version : Viruses from Space!

Nowhere Man
2005-Nov-30, 01:13 AM
Computer viruses, that is. SC Magazine has a short article:

Aliens could hack the internet and spread viruses if proper precautions are not put in place, warned a top scientist.

Dr. Richard Carrigan, a particle physicist at the US Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory in Batavia, Ill., said efforts to decode signals from space by means of programs such as Seti@home could leave computers running the software open to attack from alien viruses. Full article here. (http://www.scmagazine.com/us/news/article/529846/et-hack-internet/)

If you ask me, Doc Carrigan needs to stick to his particles and not speculate about computers. IMNSHO, it would be practically impossible for an instruction stream for an alien computer to be anything but random garbage to an Earthling computer. For instance, take a program for the PC (Windows, Linux, Unix, DOS, etc.) and try to run it on, say, an AS/400. No go.

The film Independence Day, and the novel The Golden Fleece by Robert Sawyer, both involve inter-species computer work. ID is at least a little plausible, since they had a sample of alien tech to work with. But as one who makes his living by hitting a keyboard (I program the cursÚd things), I find this laughable.

Add to this the fact that the signals are kept in a data area. Unless there is a very severe burp, there is no way the program counter could wind up pointing at it. Further, modern OSes know what parts of memory are data and what are instructions, and throw hissy fits if one part is treated as the other.


PS. I know at least four guys who work at FNAL. It's doubtful if they know Carrigan, but I can ask.

2005-Dec-01, 09:04 PM
You might be wrong, I received this in the e-mail the other day:

"Dear Receiver ..

How Are You??!!

You Have Just Received A Jordanian Tafeeli Virus..

Since We Are Not So Technologically Advanced In Jordan

I Am A Manual Virus. You Have To Help Me ..

Because I Can't Do Every Thing By My Self ..

Please Delete All The Files On Your Hard Disk ..

By Yourself And Send This Mail ..

To Everyone You Know ..

Thank You Very Much For Helping Me ..

Sender ..
Tafeeli Virus .. "

What if the space men were to come up with a devious plot like this?

2005-Dec-01, 11:10 PM
There is even a book: "Diseases from Space"


Nowhere Man
2005-Dec-01, 11:33 PM
It's reached User Friendly (http://ars.userfriendly.org/cartoons/?id=20051201) too.