Nuke the Net from Orbit: How to Create a Zombie Free Internet

The other day I heard that there might be billions of botnets lurking on infected computers. An author was wondering what the bad guys were going to do with all those stealth computer zombies.

I say: Who cares what the hackers want to do with us. Let’s do a pre-emptive strike and kill all the zombies now. Let’s reformat the internet.

Let the geeks go forth from this time and place and offer to wipe the internet clean of viruses, malware and Trojans. Let them offer this service at a fee of course, for the ultimate purpose of cleaning up the internet. The Geeks will do some happy talk commercial about how they will do the hard work of gathering together all operating system software, your application software and even your drivers once they know the system manufacturer and they will back up your precious files into a virus proof thumb drives. They will then scan the thumb drives for infection anyway. Then the geeks will nuke you system! This is to say, they will reformat your hard drive and blow any bugs it had hidden in it away. Even the really nasty ones like root kits will be gone, gone, gone. Then, just to be sure, they will write your system over with ones and zeros and random noise and reformat it once again before reinstalling your system. They will not reinstall your personal files until they install anti-malware software on your system and scan it and kill any bugs. If they find any bugs, they will find out which software or piece of hardware had bugs in it, replace it and start again. Your personal files don’t go on the system until your system is safe and your personal files are safe.

There have been reports of certain software and even hardware coming ready made with infections on them. Even without such dire reports, all those infected zombie computers out there are waiting for something…

There is a counter example to what I propose. Let us say that there is a world wide movement to eliminate all the dormant viruses and Trojans by reformatting the hard drives of every PC in the world. If you were the bad guys and you had something really nasty planned and it was just about to go south, what would do? Like a terrorist caught at a checkpoint, you might decide to set off your device right now.

Which is to say, the bad guys could decide to attack us with whatever it was they were planning before they were fully ready to do it. Sounds good to me. If we must fight this cyber war lets have the battle at a place and time of our choosing. If we wait until a place and time of our adversary’s choosing they might do something like shut down the entire internet or launch an attack with every unsecured weapon on earth that has an internet interface. By the way, what constitutes a weapon? Is an airplane full of gas and people a weapon?

So if we start wiping out the enemies means to hit us, they might strike early not only with an internet attack, but also with a brick and mortar physical attack. Don’t forget that our enemy loves to distract our attention with one attack and then follow it up with their real objective.

Imagine if we could get the bad guys to do their worst before they were ready and while we were completely ready. Could there be a better chance for a better outcome than that? It’s probably something that national command authorities need to think about. Get DARPA on it.

This article is based on a premise from the movie Aliens. Remember when Sigourney Weaver’s character says to nuke the aliens from high orbit because it was the only way to be sure to kill them all?

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