I have to give this one more try, so here goes....
Over a year ago, I sent numerous Emails to the press, politicians, and several business groups trying to raise the awareness of the very real chance of a devastating cyberterrorist attack. The possibility of such an attack has been quietly acknowledged within the inner circles of the government, but little has been done and now, there are credible and specific threats to unleash a "megavirus" if we attack Iraq.
Because we may strike Iraq very soon, there is now no time and, despite what may be believed in corporate or government organizations, the plain and simple fact is that the majority of small businesses and professionals are not even aware of their need to take steps to protect their computers. Most think their computers are protected by the antique antiviral software that came with their system, even though no updates have ever been applied, and the number that are aware of the need to apply security patches is just plain microscopic.
I say these things based upon twenty six years of being in the trenches and having seen well over 100,000 different computer problems.
From my direct experience, a mother at home is far more likely to have current antiviral software, because she is worried about her children's safety, than a stock broker, lawyer, plumber, trucker, or other businessman; yet they, ironically, are often dependent upon their computer for their very livelihood. And, America's economy is dependent on the millions of small businesses.
An extremely conservative estimate is that more than 50% of the computers in America are vulnerable; my, real world experience wants to say the number is over 75%, and the consequences of a successful attack, even at the simplest level, would make the great depression look like a picnic.
Contemplate, for a moment, the effect of 30 million computers being erased within a 24 hour period, and that is the result of the simple attack!
One virus has been sending login and password information back to its creators for almost a year, so a sophisticated attack could also scramble the accounts at, say Banc of America, US Airways, GM, or Dean Witter, as but a few examples.
If you think that I am an alarmist or am crying wolf, check it for yourself. Look at the ridiculously small number of computers reported at McAfee or Symantec and project the percentage of infections to the numbers that haven't been scanned.
Read at PC World about the new virus roaring out of Korea and the interview with a prominent cyberterrorist:
Winevar could delete all the files on a computer's hard drive, while also mocking the user"
U.S. military action will be met with release of "megavirus," Melhacker says"
All that is needed to thwart this threat is for your friends, readers, members, or constituents to check their computers and ensure their antiviral software is current. I can provide another article with step-by-step instructions on updating older software for free, a free online security and virus check, and on how to ensure that a computer is not wide open to attack.
If you are not techno-savvy, pass this on to someone who is. If you want to know more, please get back to me; but, whatever you do, please don't ignore this. There are others whose very fortunes may depend on what you do.