OK, this is an over the top, sensationalist title. But today a cash machine at HSBC failed to give me my money. So I headed over to Barclays to withdraw some cash, and that too was down. I popped inside to ask what the heck was going on, and all cash points and instore credit/debit card payment systmes were offline. No one knows why. Luckily they were happy to give me money in the old fashioned way, over the counter, so I could get my lunchtime coffee and chocolate cheesecake (I am on a diet, of sorts).
But, it got me thinking. Viruses today seem to be as much about disrupting services as about stealing information. What if someone made a virus which was soley designed to bring down world payment systems? It would make the credit crunch look like a teddy bear’s picnic. All spending would cease almost immediately. Many companies no longer accept cheques. Cash will be locked up in bank vaults, with queues a mile long of people trying to get at their cash. And when they do, how much will they withdraw? £20? Unlikely. It will be more like £200, to avoid having to queue again. And the banks will not cope with so much cash in circulation.
If an organisation can bring down what is possibly the most secure computer network in the world, they could wreak havoc and mayhem globally.