What if there was no chocolate?

I think sometimes we all get a bit blasé about viruses and malware and the effects that they can have.

I wrote in a previous post about the need for us all to be aware of the value of our information. But I’ve also been thinking about another cause of people being relaxed about computer viruses and malware.

We hear about them all the time. People are always getting hit with them. And yet we’re all still here.

Facebook got hit with that whole “Cambridge Analytica” thing a couple of years ago, but they’re still here, right? I can still post about my chihuahua’s birthday party, can’t I? And sure, I remember reading something about Uber being hacked a while back, but I can still get my cheap taxi to that Donald Trump-themed fancy dress party this evening…

Leaving aside that the Facebook / Cambridge Analytica debacle had nothing to do with malware, I think this is the whole “familiarity breeds contempt” phenomenon that we’re all susceptible to. Did your PC switch itself off when was in the news? No? Then carry on as you were, I guess.

What’s the worst that could happen?

Imagine a world where, let’s say, the world’s supply of Fruit and Nut bars disappeared? It’s okay, don’t panic, they’re still on the shelves, it was just an example…  But imagine Cadbury’s was hit. Or worse, its parent company – Mondalez – taking out all the other members of the snack-producing family too. Even Oreos.

More seriously, imagine you’re an import / export business, using Fed Ex to ship your parcels over the world. What if Fed Ex was hit, and unable to move your (time-sensitive, perhaps refrigerated) goods?

Let’s make it even worse. Suppose that it wasn’t Fed Ex, but the company that’s used to move things by sea the world over. Imagine, say, the world’s largest shipping cargo was hit (that’s a Danish company called Maersk, by the way). In fact, let’s have some fun and imagine that both Fed Ex and Maersk get hit.

Going to hospital? Perhaps the worst that could happen would be that the system that transcribes your notes from your consultant into your patient records gets hit. So, when you arrive for that shoulder op, you suddenly notice that the surgeon is marking up cutting lines on your knee. (Incidentally, one company widely used to do medical record transcribing – Nuance – was also behind the voice recognition in the early versions of Siri).

What if the lights just went off?

Or ATMs stopped responding?

Hey – let’s have some real fun. Imagine that all of these – Mondalez, Maersk, Fed Ex, Nuance, the ATM network, the power network – were all hit. On the same day!

Not just a nightmare scenario. Not a script waiting for Bruce Willis to sign on the dotted line.

It happened. In June 2017.

It mattered.

Take a look at our short film about the events when a worm called “NotPetya” changed the world.

And by all means share this – and add your comments below.