19 Mar 2012

Computer viruses could eventually start dangerous epidemics

While avoiding scareware, malware and viruses is scary enough and forces people to load up their antivirus software, Black Hat Europe said hackers could eventually create malicious software that will cross from technology into biological warfare.

"We are really on the border between the living and the not living," said Guillaume Lovet, senior manager of Fortinet's Threat Research and Response Center during a speech at the Black Hat Europe security conference. "We came to wonder if there can be some kind of convergence between human viruses and computer viruses. It may sound like a scenario for a bad Hollywood movie, but it is not such a stupid question."

One thing that led researchers to this conclusion is the similarity between human and computer viruses, which work the same way, according to Fortinet. The company said in a paper this month that both infect themselves.

The paper said this is how the ZeuS Trojan built a botnet with 3.6 million hosts in the United States: people kept infecting themselves and it moved forward past that. With this possibility, companies should start shoring up internet security now to stay as safe as possible.