Maybe, maybe not. Either way I am probably less fearful of some sort of global catastrophic computer virus/worm attack then many or even most. You might even say I am downright sanguine on the possibility. Two reasons I have for the optimistic outlook.
- The lack of sophistication that is still plainly evident in even the most headline grabbing “major” attack. All still essentially rely on some human doing something stupid to get started. Opening an attachment from unknown sender in an email, using a weak password, leaving a USB card with sensitive info in a cafe, etc. Even the CIAs famous Iran centrifuge cyber attack relied on agent access and physical delivery of the worm in question directly to the system. It simply could not be done remotely, over the internet, even with the combined assets of the CIA/NSA and every other power player in cyber warfare in the US Govt working on the problem. Of course humans are stupid so this sort of thing will happen but as long as that remains true it means that the other way, the really scary way, is not an option. The scary way is when a fully secured, encrypted, theoretically locked down system is broken into from afar/remotely, over the standard internet, and taken over. If that ever happens I will be very, very afraid.
- The analogy to biological viral/bacterial infections and the extreme rarity of highly lethal infectious agents/diseases — I am working on a post on this topic so please have a read when it comes out.