Hackers can now turn your home computer into a bomb and blow your family to smithereens, and do so remotely from thousands of miles away, the Weekly World News reports.
The recent DDoS attacks which paralysed the Amazon, Buy.com and eBAY Web sites are tame compared to what will happen in the near future, the paper warns.
Computer expert Arnold Yabenson, president of the Washington-based consumer group National CyberCrime Prevention Foundation (NCPF), says that we've only seen the tip of the iceberg.
"It is already possible for an assassin to send someone an e-mail with an innocent-looking attachment. When the receiver downloads the attachment, the electrical current and molecular structure of the central processing unit is altered, causing it to blast apart like a large hand grenade," the paper quotes Yabenson as saying.
"The criminals who knocked out those on-line businesses are the least of our worries," Yabenson said.
"There are brilliant but unscrupulous hackers out there who have developed technologies that the average person can't even dream of. Even people who are familiar with how computers work have trouble getting their minds around the terrible things that can be done."
"As shocking as this is, it shouldn't surprise anyone. It's just the next step in an ever-escalating progression of horrors conceived and instituted by hackers," he warned.
Yabenson points out that these "dangerous sociopaths" have already vandalised FBI and US Army Web sites, and have come within two digits of cracking an 87-digit Russian security code that would have sent deadly missiles hurtling toward five of America's major cities, the paper notes.
"As dangerous as this technology is right now, it's going to get much scarier," Yabenson said. "Soon it will be sold to terrorists cults and fanatical religious-fringe groups. Instead of blowing up a single plane, these groups will be able to patch into the central computer of a large airline and blow up hundreds of planes at once."
The Register had hoped to interview Yabenson for clarification of just how the planes would be made to explode. Perhaps via embedded microprocessors whose molecular structure could be altered remotely, as with the previously described e-mail attachment, we were thinking.
But alas, a Web search for the NCPF yielded only the North Carolina Psychological Foundation, which, as we consider it, might have a few valuable insights into this story after all... ®
Register historic factoid: Reader Dale Hubbard claims that back in 1980 you could make a Sharp MZ80K smoke, "and sometimes even flame. This was accomplished by writing a program in assembler that would activate/deactivate the cassette relay switch in a very swift toggle motion. The resultant friction could certainly warm up the relay." Thank you, Dale. A well misspent youth.