It seem’s the computer biosphere is more like the human biosphere than we knew with news that Professor Alan Marshall and his team from Liverpool University have created a computer virus that can live and move through the air like the flu.
The virus spreads by moving through unsecured wi-fi points according to Professor Marshall with the BBC reporting that the virus, which has been given the nick name of Chameleon, “seeks out wi-fi access points – devices that transmit the wi-fi signal, found in many homes – that have not had their admin password changed.”
Speaking to Tracey Holmes on ABC Newsradio last night, Professor Marshall joked that there was nothing to worry about because the good guys had built this virus and his testing “in the wild” showed that no one else had yet been able to crack what had previously been dubbed an impossible task.
Asked why, Prof Marshall said no-one knew it could be done so they hadn’t tried.
The really scary thing about this virus though is that it is just like human viruses in that it automatically seeks out potential new hosts for infection, moving from one unsecured wi-fi point to the next as it spreads though the computer ecosystem.
Clearly high-density regions will be more prone to the spread, just like cities all over the world are vulnerable to the spread of the flu. But equally Prof Marshall told Holmes that just like some humans had more resistance, so it would be with wi-fi modems.
Professor Marshall said that it was likely to be the free coffee shops and retail wi-fi networks which were more vulnerable, as corporate networks would be more secure.
But he has an easy fix which he said would go a long way to securing your modem – change the administration password.
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