*** Last Reviewed Jan-2015 ****
Several years have passed since I first put this on our website, but the feelings I have (have) not diminished. Frankly I can't see any place where I need to add something. These are still my personal feelings and beliefs. and Yes - I practice what I preach.
May God Bless America. May his Angels spread their wings of protection over our brave soldiers on the field of battle and vanquish the true enemies of freedom.
=========(Originally written right after 9-11)=============
I can't tell you how strongly I feel about the events of the past weeks. I like many have been moved to tears countless times watching the events unfold. Being in the computer business, the similarities between Computer Viruses and International Terrorists immediately struck me. While this isn't a emotional appeal for a "call to arms", it does express my views and feelings on what we as a nation should do about it.
I've been computing since about 1978. My first computer didn't need viruses. It was unreliable enough on it's own. Plus the main I/O was Tape Cassettes because floppy Drives were expensive. Viruses were relegated to the world of Medicine. In those days most of the software was so buggy you wouldn't have known if you HAD a virus.
In the days of the "Old West" things were uncomplicated. They barely HAD "I/O' and it was usually out back with a Sears Roebuck Catalog as the main accessory. There were no terrorists. If someone DID terrorize - it was usually a "local problem", or some outlaw with a fast gun. Town Marshalls dealt quickly with the majority of them. Justice was swift and there were no appeals. Meanwhile the rest of the "civilized nation" went about its business with disregard.
In about 1993 we stated getting on the Internet. Up till then Compuserve was one of the few places for "real" international email, so most of us used BBS's and had to physically dial into them to see if we had any mail. File attachments were almost non-existent and if you transferred files at all it was point to point. What viruses there were - were done by Computer Hackers - and most of them were a nuisance more than anything else. Viruses were mainly propagated via the floppy disks we swapped, so just about any kind of "Virus Checker" was adequate. I guess we ran our Virus program on the entire computer once every two to three months... if that.
While there had been previous terrorist attacks on airliners such as the 1988 Lockerbie flight, or our Embassies in the Middle East, attacks were in distant countries and "could never happen here". 1993 was the year of the WTC bombing. WTC was the first real terrorist attack on our own soil. If it hadn't been botched by the terrorist(s) the WTC would have already been a pile of rubble. So - For a while we heightened our security ("Virus" checking), but as human nature would have it - it wasn't long before it became cumbersome and inconvenient. And, while all the systems were in place, the maintenance of them became neglected or relegated to second place.
About 6 months ago we had a sudden slow down in our PC performance. We tried everything, reinstalling windows, programs. Even used the Virus Checker we had installed - nothing helped. So we were forced to install a new hard drive. We purchased a brand new copy of Norton and went about the immense task of rebuilding all our programs, libraries and files. I had saved the old hard drive, and before we started transferring files across, I ran Norton on it. I found over 500 files in the "Main System Directory" that were infected. Basically it was discovered the "Old" virus checker had expired, and did not get the regular updates as new viruses came out. Eventually one or two leaked into our system and that was all she wrote. To make it worse, we're on a network of 4 computers. The virus had spread without our knowledge to all the other machines.
Tuesday Morning a number of terrorists attacked the "Main System Directories" of our Nation. Both the Financial and Military operations headquarters took massive hits. Our Financial and transportation systems ground to a halt. In addition we found the terrorists had infected our entire infrastructure. Terrorist Cells have been living among us - living off us - even using our own flight training schools. All the time plotting like some Trojan Virus for the right time to strike. Investigations of our airport security now finds that it is outdated and security checks have been lax or negligent. Further investigations find terrorists cells have spread and are resident in many countries of the free world.
There is a vast similarity between computer viruses and terrorists.
Viruses like Terrorists are designed by demented souls bent on destruction via mayhem and chaos. Viruses like terrorists are pervasive and spread unchecked through unprotected systems. Their main objective is to disable the host and eventually destroy it.
Terrorists like Viruses have no guilt.
Terrorists, like viruses are detectable if you have a good, up to date, powerful security Program. Once a "virus" is found it must be deleted so that it cannot continue to wreak havoc.
Terrorists like Viruses lurk in the shadows or hide in the anonymity of cyber space. The only way to rid the host of a "virus" is to either inoculate the host (remove the viruses), or eliminate the host (delete the file). They can never be completely eliminated as long as the individuals that create and propagate their terror and hate go uncaught and unpunished. The only protector is vigilance. The only solution is an aggressive program to eliminate them.
I THINK I've learned my lesson, and now perform weekly updates on line from the Norton Virus program. I have taken extra precautions on email and Never open an attachment. Never. I will remain forever vigilant. I will always aggressively search and destroy any - any - virus I find.
I hope we as a nation have learned OUR lesson and now proceed toward a fully implemented purge of our "viruses". We need to take whatever measures are necessary to eliminate the creators and cleanse the host.
I fully support Bush's statement of "Wanted Dead or Alive". Nothing says it better. Nothing should deter our resolve. Nothing should stand in the way of the elimination of the threat and it's perpetrators.
God Bless America
Jim Springer - President Computer Aided Technologies