So apparently the Storm Worm—an email-propagating trojan that’s creating an unknowingly-large botnet—has learned how to figure out when security researchers are probing it and is retaliating (Via Boing Boing via Slashdot):
The Storm worm is fighting back against security researchers that seek to destroy it and has them running scared, Interop New York show attendees heard Tuesday.
The worm can figure out which users are trying to probe its command-and-control servers, and it retaliates by launching DDoS attacks against them, shutting down their Internet access for days….
As researchers test their versions of Storm by connecting to Storm command-and-control servers, the servers seem to recognize these attempts as threatening. Then either the worm itself or the people behind it seem to knock them off the Internet by flooding them with traffic from Storm’s botnet….
Now, if I were approaching this news from a science fiction (writing) or a conspiracy theoretical angle, I’d be seriously wondering if this isn’t the rise of a distributed sentient AI.
(*cough* Skynet *cough*)
This isn’t a new idea. William Gibson back in ’98 wrote a script for "The X-Files" based on the same premise: a computer virus (several, actually) was loosed upon the internet to spread and evolve and bootstrap itself into a networked emergent AI.
Then, of course, it tried to kill everybody who tried to stop it.