In a comment on a Boing Boing post about RFID ‘viruses’, Ben Giddings makes an interesting aside:
“If you intentionally design a system to be vulnerable to certain data, then intentionally expose the system to that data, then yup, you’ll have a problem.
I’m surprised the music industry hasn’t tried this with MP3s. Design a MP3 player that will format your hard drive if it sees a certain often-downloaded song, download that song, show the drive getting formatted, then claim that MP3s are dangerous because they might format your hard drive.”
The idea of data-triggered architectures of control is intriguing (and even more worrying than blindly applied ‘simple’ control).
Going further than simply using this as a FUD/scare tactic (“P2P networks are full of viruses – look what could happen to your computer!”), it could equally be applied as part of a ‘trusted’/treacherous computing architecture to ‘punish’ users who violate whatever rules the maker puts in place.
Just as incorrectly entering your PIN three times will cause the ATM to retain your card, so ‘incorrectly’ having non-authorised data on your hard disk could cause the computer to lock up the rest of your data, or delete that important novel or thesis you’ve been working on.
Don’t let it happen.