In the current pandemic situation, armchair epidemiologists have sprung up all over social media with limited virus-specific education, so let the cybersecurity researchers also have an informed opinion, for we have been witnessing computer viruses going pandemic on a regular basis for the last 20 years. Surely we have an opinion too?
Just like immune systems, configurations of a PC can be regarded as infinite for all practical purposes. Depending on operating system version, hardware or antivirus products, an infection may or may not ensue. The infection might or might not be able to spread further from a host depending on the cybersecurity in place.
Viruses are invisible to the naked eye. While those on computers can be diagnosed with up-to-date fingerprint scanning of antivirus software, biological viruses can be recognized by our bodies through antigenic interactions of antibodies. Neither the local fingerprint database nor the range of different antibodies in an individual can defend against all occurring viral threats: viruses survive by evolving fast enough to defeat these mechanisms. Be it through antigenic drift, shift or by exploiting a wormable zero-day vulnerability, viruses in general have repeatedly proven their persistence once humans and computers, respectively, have become interconnected enough to ensure the transmission of self-replicating information.
Once we acknowledge viruses in our biological and electronic networks, emergency response planning and execution becomes paramount. Companies operating critical infrastructures are therefore building Computer Emergency Response Teams (CERTs). While remarkably little is known about the long term disease control plans for dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic, CERTs are usually drilled to five phases: identify, protect, detect, respond and recover.
Identification of SARS-CoV-2 was remarkably fast: the WHO issued RNA testing protocols on January 17th, before human to human transmission was even confirmed. As any news outlet in the past month will tell, the Western world has failed to protect itself from the virus. In the following diagram, we can see the positive cases plotted against detection attempts, normalized to population densities:
This is, not just in biology and cybersecurity, but indeed all sciences, called a direct proportionality. Wherever in the world the test is done today, roughly every tenth will be positive. Thus, the recipe for less confirmed cases: perform less tests. There is an important factor differentiating computer and human viruses, that being the value of human life. We shall look at that, too:
The above chart is based on data kindly borrowed from OurWorldInData.org (although they misspelled Faroe Islands). It is not a hyperbole to state that the hyperbola shape indicates inverse proportionality of the Case Fatality Rates to the tests per capita. The more we test, the more cases we will have, but the lower ratio of those tested positive will die. The average case gets milder as more tests become available, because tests won’t be reserved for the serious cases.
While containing infections is a mitigation activity that we all, meaning more than half of humanity, now practice at the expense of all other functions we might have, it only is one activity in the respond category and its success hinges upon other activities in other categories. We, therefore, have developed an antivirus product that, as opposed the current real-time reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction, offers the following benefits to our civilization struggling with COVID-19:
- Makes time even realer.
- As the economy is in reverse, we embrace forward-looking solutions.
- Transcription not only in blots in certain directions, e.g. Northern, or limited to the plane, but above and below you too, yielding spherical results.
- An RNA/DNA polymerase that doesn’t break any hydrogen bonds, so as to enable long-term bonding for quarantined base pairs.
- Uses a chainless reaction to minimize friction, wear and tear.
We are witnessing an unparalleled, massive Distributed Denial of Service attack on our health systems. As the new virus becomes endemic to humanity, we modify it to pass on not just complementary, but complimentary RNA: it is for free and says nice things to you to get your juices flowing.
From the above, we can see how armchair epidemiologists have done excellent work in a difficult environment, pulling their weight plus that of their armchair. Don't let anyone ever take that armchair from you, especially not by other armchair-bound occupational groups like leaders who were in a position to react before the virus went global.