Remember when the web was young, and email was just gaining popularity in the mainstream, and there was a slew of virus hoaxes like the Good Times Virus, or It Takes Guts to Say Jesus, or Elf Bowling?
Remember painstakingly explaining to people that no, your computer couldn’t get a virus just by reading an email, you had to click on an attachment? That images were safe to open? Remember when the worst people had to worry about from web pages was unwanted cookies? Getting a virus just from looking at a web page? Preposterous! And a virus that ran up your credit card? Ridiculous!
It’s sad to think that all those “ridiculous” things are now possible—in fact, they’re commonplace. Look back at that link up there. It’s Snopes’ page on computer virus warnings. Way back when, they were all bogus. These days, most of them are real.
So what’s next? Well, they keep talking about Internet-aware appliances, so a future virus probably could “recalibrate your refrigerator’s coolness setting so all your ice cream goes melty.”