Dumb Luck

I’m on a cyber-roll today:

Computer hackers tapped into a Web site at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention last week, planting a virus that has possibly infected computers used by people who visited the site, agency officials said.

CDC’s podcast site, www.cdc.gov/podcasts, which contains audio and video on a variety of public health topics, has been taken off the agency’s Web site and is expected to be down for at least a few days.

“At this time, CDC does not have any evidence that sensitive information has been compromised in any way. However, it is possible that computers used by visitors to CDC’s site may have been infected with a computer virus,” the agency said in a news item posted Saturday evening at www.cdc.gov.

“Users that visited the site Thursday morning should ensure their computer has been scanned for viruses.”

Ah, no, users that visited the site should ensure that they’re not following bogus medical advice. The danger is not malcode but semantic attack. You can clean/wipe/rebuild an infected system; you’d be hard pressed to recover from libel, injury or death caused by diddled data. No one remembers Lamo the homeless hacker and his foray into AP/Yahoo news or if they do they’ve forgotten the impact a successful attack can have.

CDC’s kung fu may be weak, but they’re just plain lucky their adversary was only a yellow-belt.

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