Humans “May Accidentally Send Aliens A Computer Virus”

Megalith

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So aliens use Windows or something? I feel like people have been watching Independence Day way too much.

In September, the UK research network for SETI (the search for ExtraTerrestrial Intelligence) voted in favour of trying to reach out to alien life forms. But they are still undecided what exactly to send and are worried that they could inadvertently send viruses into space which could infect the technology of other civilisations.
 

tlkimball

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An article written by people who understand neither real viruses nor computer viruses.
 

Angry

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With as much stuff as we are already blasting out into space (and back...)

..Its no wonder we havent been contacted (that we know) or anything..
 

tetris42

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We're in the twilight zone of journalism, where tabloids blend together with news and opinion articles seamlessly.
 

michael.pa2

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Just to get the conspiracy freaks going,what if aliens are the ones sending viruses to us ?
 

rat

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> Humans “May Accidentally Send Aliens A Computer Virus”

Just like how a monkey at a typewrite may have accidentally typed out Shakespeare's works?
 

alxlwson

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I'm pretty sure that just as in biological viruses, that viruses designed for an operating system must also be coded to the "DNA"
 

mynamehere

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Assuming aliens actually exist (I'm in the "don't" camp), why do we assume they'd be as advanced as us; let alone be using similar enough computing technology that this could even happen? :rolleyes:
 

Lunas

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Assuming aliens actually exist (I'm in the "don't" camp), why do we assume they'd be as advanced as us; let alone be using similar enough computing technology that this could even happen? :rolleyes:
That's a whole shit load of empty space out there. :rolleyes: I suppose you have your belief in the creationist camp...:rolleyes:

I believe there is other "life" out there and I am open to it being sentient I don't think sentient life can advance far enough to travel the stars with peace and civility in mind. I see life making the same mistakes as humanity. First it will advance then it will wage war then it will die until a unified party is left then it will resume advancement until the cycle repeats at the point where advancement reaches the point the whole planet can be killed it will eventually happen. Thus we will never end up with a Utopian future like in Star Trek as all sentient life will eventually kill itself.

My biggest worry is if a sentient life form advances far enough to reach that point and somehow survives if they don't learn from it and nip that behavior in the butt they are doomed to repeat it. Worst case scenario is they advance and survive it to spread like locusts in the universe.
 

Lunas

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Also why do we think 1s and 0s will make up aliens computing language. What if it is bleeps and blooorps... even if we could send a virus to their computers it would not be in the same language thus it would not do anything.
 

tetris42

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> Humans “May Accidentally Send Aliens A Computer Virus”

Just like how a monkey at a typewrite may have accidentally typed out Shakespeare's works?
At least the monkeys are using the same alphabet.
 

michalrz

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Obviously our virii target particular libraries in particular pieces of software written for particular hardware that itself is full of errors and workarounds.

IMHO we can and should transmit two things: a simple preamble such as conveying our use of the decimal system and a basic "I am".
Like Lunas said, the language or numerical system is useless. We'd have to establish one.

Part one (. - short pulse, _-short pause equivalent to the length of 10 lengths of the pulse, | - longer pause equivalent to 10 short pauses):
Code:
._._._._._._._._._.|   (10, pause)
.|.|._.         (1,1,2)
.|.|.| ._._.    (1,1,1,3)
(repeat until 10)
A signal and a time interval is the only thing I believe could be understood by any sentient being.
If we establish '10' as our basis, we have thus announced our frequency or 'pace' at which further info will be sent.
Part 2 would begin after 10 long pauses and should carry information about our DNA. Using something like this as the method:
http://www.mathworks.com/help/bioinfo/ref/nt2int.html

Honestly, that's all they would need to figure out when we were, how we looked like, what could we have achieved.
 

infinitywulfy

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I think we've already managed to send enough stupid stuff into space that they should darn well be able to figure out they need to filter whatever they get from us. :p
 

Lunas

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As for what we should send to any potential life is nothing we don't want to contact anything unless we are at a equal technological footing no need to call out our overlords if we have no means of protecting ourselves.

Realistically we should if we must send anything send classical music and math maybe language so that they may attempt to contact us with a response they translate into our language. We should also expect any life coming here to be hostile but we also should not attack. Open but guarded...
 

jojo69

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I hope they don't actually go through with this.

It is quite possible that the reason we don't hear anything is that it is very unwise to transmit.
 

Zarathustra[H]

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This is crazy talk.

A virus is specifically designed to target a very specific architecture, software and/or hardware.

If we come across a random civilization in space (if such a thing exists) the chances of it happening to have a compatible computer architecture seems rather infinitesimal.
 

Zarathustra[H]

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Obviously our virii target particular libraries in particular pieces of software written for particular hardware that itself is full of errors and workarounds.

IMHO we can and should transmit two things: a simple preamble such as conveying our use of the decimal system and a basic "I am".
Like Lunas said, the language or numerical system is useless. We'd have to establish one.

Part one (. - short pulse, _-short pause equivalent to the length of 10 lengths of the pulse, | - longer pause equivalent to 10 short pauses):
Code:
._._._._._._._._._.|   (10, pause)
.|.|._.         (1,1,2)
.|.|.| ._._.    (1,1,1,3)
(repeat until 10)
A signal and a time interval is the only thing I believe could be understood by any sentient being.
If we establish '10' as our basis, we have thus announced our frequency or 'pace' at which further info will be sent.
Part 2 would begin after 10 long pauses and should carry information about our DNA. Using something like this as the method:
http://www.mathworks.com/help/bioinfo/ref/nt2int.html

Honestly, that's all they would need to figure out when we were, how we looked like, what could we have achieved.
Agreed. Something like this. Maybe incremental beeps of prime numbers, to illustrate that we have an understanding of mathematics.
 

michalrz

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I hope they don't actually go through with this.

It is quite possible that the reason we don't hear anything is that it is very unwise to transmit.
Let them come. The battle of LA must have had left them traumatized.
 

Zarathustra[H]

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I hope they don't actually go through with this.

It is quite possible that the reason we don't hear anything is that it is very unwise to transmit.
Lol.

The chance of this happening is next to zero.

The best we can hope to is that if we can make our signal powerful enough, DECADES from now, the radio signals might reach another intelligent civilization. Then they'd have to try to interpret it, formulate a reply, and figure out how to send it, and then it would take DECADES for that signal to get back to us.

If we send something today, our grand children MIGHT be hearing the response, if there is even anything out there capable of listening.

Considering faster than light travel is pretty much impossible, the chance of any other civilization actually coming here and trying to hurt us is so unlikely it is laughable.
 

Lunas

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Zarathustra[H];1041854187 said:
This is crazy talk.

A virus is specifically designed to target a very specific architecture, software and/or hardware.

If we come across a random civilization in space (if such a thing exists) the chances of it happening to have a compatible computer architecture seems rather infinitesimal.
Yes it is the monkeys and typewriters argument but applied to machine code the thought behind this half baked article is all conjecture that if we throw enough random code at an alien architecture that architecture will have the same effect as what we consider a computer virus.
 

chenw

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I am far more worried about the other crap we are sending into space having a chance of doing damage to an alien 'computer' than I am worried about a message to aliens ending up being a computer virus.

Actually, I take that back. I have bigger worries about the Golden Record being toxic to aliens.
 

Spidey329

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So has anyone ever inadvertently sent a "Hello World" message that acted as a virus to another foreign system without it being by design?

Didn't think so.
 

Verge

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With as much stuff as we are already blasting out into space (and back...)

..Its no wonder we havent been contacted (that we know) or anything..

You're thinking in 3D. Think in 4.


Maybe in another million years we will hear back.
 

Starcrossed

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I know this was one of my main concerns this morning. I'm not certain what I'd do if I accidentally infected an alien PC. The guilt would be perpetual.
 

Killahurtz

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I bet if our signal was to screw up some Venutians game of Minecraft it would literally be "on like Donkey Kong"
 

mullet

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Zarathustra[H];1041854187 said:
This is crazy talk.

A virus is specifically designed to target a very specific architecture, software and/or hardware.

If we come across a random civilization in space (if such a thing exists) the chances of it happening to have a compatible computer architecture seems rather infinitesimal.
Are you sure?
 

Ur_Mom

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It could be. For all we know, their computer systems are based on radio frequencies and when they receive our radio communications (music, TV, data, whatever), maybe some of that data could be interpreted as malware to their systems. Like sending a shitton of malformed packets for a DDoS or something....

Of course, you could always come up with a theory. I could come up with a dozen more. They'd all be science fiction and the probability of it working would be astronomical... :D But, look at other sci-fi works. They all have their far fetched ideas. It's not hard to come up with one. And, they could conceivably work. Given that everything else is similar to the story. Since we don't know about the alien communications, we tailor our theories to something that works for us. If we say malformed packets, we're also making the story say that their communications USE packets. So, x y and z all have to match up to work with any theory. And we don't know shit about aliens, their technology, their communications, the way their computers work (or if it's all organic), etc... We just compare it to ours or make some BS up.

It's still fun as shit and makes for some good movies. Comical parts in movies, too (A Mac for a virus to an alien ship in ID4?! HAHAHAHAHA!).
 

Lunas

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It could be. For all we know, their computer systems are based on radio frequencies and when they receive our radio communications (music, TV, data, whatever), maybe some of that data could be interpreted as malware to their systems. Like sending a shitton of malformed packets for a DDoS or something....

Of course, you could always come up with a theory. I could come up with a dozen more. They'd all be science fiction and the probability of it working would be astronomical... :D But, look at other sci-fi works. They all have their far fetched ideas. It's not hard to come up with one. And, they could conceivably work. Given that everything else is similar to the story. Since we don't know about the alien communications, we tailor our theories to something that works for us. If we say malformed packets, we're also making the story say that their communications USE packets. So, x y and z all have to match up to work with any theory. And we don't know shit about aliens, their technology, their communications, the way their computers work (or if it's all organic), etc... We just compare it to ours or make some BS up.

It's still fun as shit and makes for some good movies. Comical parts in movies, too (A Mac for a virus to an alien ship in ID4?! HAHAHAHAHA!).
some one had to pay to make that movie product placement gives the movie money and products advertisement...
 

lcpiper

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Assuming aliens actually exist (I'm in the "don't" camp), why do we assume they'd be as advanced as us; let alone be using similar enough computing technology that this could even happen? :rolleyes:
Well, considering the length a time it takes for a signal to reach some of the galaxys out there where life could be lurking, any civ who is advanced enough to recieve and process the signal would be in their stoneage years at the moment, and any who are as developed as we are now, will be far more advanced when they actually recieve it. And by that time we could all be dead, hunting them, or their prey.

And let's not spend too much time concidering what a more advanced civ might do because we won't sleep well at night thinking on that now will we?
 

CaptNumbNutz

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Messages
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Obviously our virii target particular libraries in particular pieces of software written for particular hardware that itself is full of errors and workarounds.

IMHO we can and should transmit two things: a simple preamble such as conveying our use of the decimal system and a basic "I am".
Like Lunas said, the language or numerical system is useless. We'd have to establish one.

Part one (. - short pulse, _-short pause equivalent to the length of 10 lengths of the pulse, | - longer pause equivalent to 10 short pauses):
Code:
._._._._._._._._._.|   (10, pause)
.|.|._.         (1,1,2)
.|.|.| ._._.    (1,1,1,3)
(repeat until 10)
A signal and a time interval is the only thing I believe could be understood by any sentient being.
If we establish '10' as our basis, we have thus announced our frequency or 'pace' at which further info will be sent.
Part 2 would begin after 10 long pauses and should carry information about our DNA. Using something like this as the method:
http://www.mathworks.com/help/bioinfo/ref/nt2int.html

Honestly, that's all they would need to figure out when we were, how we looked like, what could we have achieved.
This is all assuming that anything we transmit is in a spectrum they can actually receive. There are huge issues transmitting anything remotely intelligible over interstellar distances. Not only that, with the EM spectrum you are limited by the speed of light which is actually really slow way of transmission given the distances involved.
 

Motzinator

n00b
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Aug 12, 2010
Messages
63
Like in "close encounters of the third kind"

Obviously our virii target particular libraries in particular pieces of software written for particular hardware that itself is full of errors and workarounds.

IMHO we can and should transmit two things: a simple preamble such as conveying our use of the decimal system and a basic "I am".
Like Lunas said, the language or numerical system is useless. We'd have to establish one.

Part one (. - short pulse, _-short pause equivalent to the length of 10 lengths of the pulse, | - longer pause equivalent to 10 short pauses):
Code:
._._._._._._._._._.|   (10, pause)
.|.|._.         (1,1,2)
.|.|.| ._._.    (1,1,1,3)
(repeat until 10)
A signal and a time interval is the only thing I believe could be understood by any sentient being.
If we establish '10' as our basis, we have thus announced our frequency or 'pace' at which further info will be sent.
Part 2 would begin after 10 long pauses and should carry information about our DNA. Using something like this as the method:
http://www.mathworks.com/help/bioinfo/ref/nt2int.html

Honestly, that's all they would need to figure out when we were, how we looked like, what could we have achieved.
 
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