Y2K testing uncovers post-2000 bugs

greenspun.com : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) : One Thread

While we and most everyone else have been focused on straight y2k double-ought problems, a Las Vegas company has reported discovering yet another y2k bug that, to my knowledge at least, hasn't been discussed. This is from the Feb. 15 Chicago Tribune. Background: In January, Mica Hill of Las Vegas and a group of partners developed a program called Shelter Harbor 2000 designed to let personal computer owners insert a floppy disk in their machines and test them for Millennium Bug problems. Begin Fair Use doctrine quote:

"The bug fix software worked by setting the computer's date forward to after Jan. 1, 2000 and then examining how the machine and its software handled the event. . . . But Hill said he was dismayed when between 20 and 25 of his first customers found that using the Y2K disk triggered a virus called Monkey V that had been lurking in each machine waiting for a trigger date to pass. Once the machine's clock was moved forward to 2000, it assumed that the date had passed.

The virus locked up many of the computers and could have done worse damage still if the testers hadn't complained to Hill's company where programmers quickly found the problem."

End quote. Anyone else heard of this or other lurking viruses that may cause additional problems post 010100? The URL is: http://chicagotribune.com/version1/article/0,1575,ART-23362,00.html

-- Cash (cash@andcarry.com), February 16, 1999


Well, isn't it obvious that any virus that triggers on a date after the present will also be triggered by advancing the clock on your system to that date? Also that if you have any sense, you backed up your system before using it for test purposes (or tested on a copy), and so having discovered the virus infestation the hard way you have one less thing to worry about come 1/1/2000? Of course, scanning for known viruses before testing would be easier, but there's always the possibility of an unknown one lurking ...

I'd recommend that anyone who uses a PC for paid work invests in some anti-virus software before it's too late (which might mean tomorrow, not Y2K!), and that absolutely anyone who creates anything of any importance to anyone keeps backup copies (plural), because computer hardware, like any other hardware, can and does break down. With Y2K coming. I'd also recommend backup copies on paper wherever feasible. Writeable CDs are another good idea, because they can't get zapped by errant software or viruses if you read them back in with an ordinary CD reader. Or by browned-out electrical supplies, for that matter.

"I've got exploration-grade bioassay software. It's smart, and very paranoid". (probable misquote from a good SF novel!)

-- Nigel Arnot (nra@maxwell.ph.kcl.ac.uk), February 17, 1999.

It does illustrate the possibility (probability) that viruses (not now being caught) could be activated by the date change. Result is a weaker structure overall.

-- Robert A. Cook, P.E. (Kennesaw, GA) (cook.r@csaatl.com), February 17, 1999.

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