Over the weekend I was pondering over what could be an equivalent of Corona Virus or COVID-19 outbreak in the IT world. Has something similar happened in the IT landscape with a malware or virus which inadvertently affects one system / server and starts spreading to connected systems / servers through the network and slowly makes the systems / servers / network dysfunctional? The trigger for this thought was to see how IT professionals dealt with the problems and if the solutions applied to solve the IT malware / virus spread could be applied to the current Corona virus crisis. The first thing that came to the mind was Ransomware attacks which have many parallels or similarities with the COVID-19 crisis and a relevance in terms of some solutions. In addition I have a first hand experience of dealing with a Ransomware attack in the recent months and it’s fresh on my mind.
Ransomware for the uninitiated by definition is “A type of malicious software designed to block access to a computer system until a sum of money is paid. Most ransomware variants encrypt the files on the affected computer, making them inaccessible, and demand a ransom payment to restore access. The malicious software can spread and affect connected computer systems”. Corona virus except for the ransom part has parallels and affects the functioning of the respiratory system and immunity of humans similar to file encryption and makes them dysfunctional and spreads to other humans in contact.
There are other similarities between the two although some may technically not consider Ransomware as computer virus but as a malware while Corona is indeed a virus:
Here are possible solutions used for handling Ransomware attacks and their relevance in medical context:
To me it appears from the lessons of dealing with Ransomware attacks, the only reliable solution for Corona virus spread is prevention as there is no widely accepted or known cure. Prevention by awareness and maintaining hygiene and hand wash, prevention by isolation, social curfews and distancing, stay at home orders are similar to preventive measures like Cyber security lessons and practices we all follow at workplace. Testing and seeking help from the professionals seem to be the options once we suspect being infected and have similar parallels in Ransomware resolutions. There is no reinstall or delete or restore from backup options for humans nor any proven widely accepted medication or vaccines as cure. Most countries rightly so are following and practicing available preventive options as steps to curb the menace. Stay indoors and Stay safe is the mantra until medication is discovered.
Like always the contents of this article are my personal opinion and should not be treated as medical advice.
I look forward to thoughts and comments as always.