Just as this column was expounding on the virtues of protective firewalls, whether they be of the hardware or software variety, hackers pulled off another coup proving once again that security, where the Internet is concerned, is a relative term.
Two highly contagious worm viruses made the news last week, inconveniencing millions by causing temporary shutdowns around the world. Neither worm will cause any permanent damage to Web servers, but thats hardly the biggest worry. As long as the Internet is at the mercy of the mischievous, the online world will never be safe.
Right now these invasions are a little like someone breaking into the Louvre to look at the pictures. Its only a matter of time, however, before thieves take something important or some psychotic torches the place.
A worm virus known as "Code Red" either affected or shut down over 225,000 Web servers and network systems around the world. A number of servers hosting Whistler sites were briefly affected, including the server for Pique NewsMagazines own site.
While most of these Code Red worm attacks were generally mindless, the person who wrote the code had a specific target in mind the White House. The White House site was back up and running in no time but with a few alterations it took a little longer to catch while the worm was tying up the system it appears that a hacker actually managed to get into Whitehouse.org and alter President George W. Bushs inaugural address.
Here are a few highlights of the revised speech, in case you missed out:
"As I begin, I thank President Clinton for his service to our nation and our interns And I thank Vice President Gore for a contest conducted with great woodenness and concluded so inconclusively. I am honored and humbled to stand here, where so many of Americas leaders have come before me, and where so many Bushes will follow. Its hard to believe that two short weeks ago I couldnt even spell Washington.
"We have a place, all of us, in a long story a story like my pappy once told me, where a walrus and a carpenter set out to find some oysters. Im sorry, I got distracted. Is anyone else here hungry? A guy gets appointed head of the free world and he cant even get an appetizer at his own coronation. Stop kicking me Oh yeah, the story.
"It is the American story a story of flawed and fallible people, united across the generations by grand and enduring ideals. I think. Maybe thats grand and ensuring. This aint a very good story, is it?"