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The Top 10 Tech Scares of the Decade

The past 10 years saw some terrifying technology

The dawn of the new millennium prompted fears about the future, but so far reality has not quite matched the predictions of catastrophe. The first ten years passed uneventfully - well, aside from Y2K and a bunch of intelligent computer viruses. Here's a look back at the past decade, and ten of the most terrifying tech scares.

9. Koobface

Years: 2008-Present (new variants)
Predicted outcome: Not applicable
Actual outcome: Still not dead

Koobface, introduced in 2008, is a computer worm that targets social networking websites. It can infect all three of the major operating systems - Windows, Mac OS X, and Linux (to a limited extent) - and can gain username/password information, but not financial information, from infected computers.

Koobface infects users via Facebook messages. Unlike some worms, Koobface requires some effort on the part of the user in order for it to infect a computer. First, it delivers a Facebook message with a link from the account of an infected user. The potential victim must then click on the link, download a file (usually disguised as an update to Adobe Flash Player), and then run the file. If they do so, Koobface can infect the computer and use it to send more messages.

Koobface has infected an estimated 500,000 computers, and it spreads easily because it sends messages to 'friends' of infected Facebook users, usually with tantalising, legitimate-sounding subject lines such as 'Bikini Mud Wrestling Youtube Video LOL!!!'

10. 2012

Year: 2012
Predicted outcome: End of the world; end of bad movies starring John Cusack
Actual outcome: ???

The year 2012 is (at least, according to some people) the last year in a 5125-year cycle on the Mesoamerican (Mayan) Long Count calendar. More specifically, December 21, 2012, is the last day of the cycle.

The date is not only the final date in a 5125-year cycle, it's also full of ones and twos - and we know how superstitious the world is when it comes to numbers. So naturally, people speculate that everything from the Apocalypse to a spiritual awakening to absolutely nada will happen in 2012, despite the fact that the Mayans themselves are pretty unconcerned.

If the world does end, that probably means the end of technology as we know it. If it doesn't, though, we have Windows 8 and laser heads-up displays in cars to look forward to.

See also: 5 security issues nobody predicted in 2010

  1. Terrifying technology
  2. Mydoom
  3. ILOVEYOU virus
  4. Koobface

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