15 years ago, on the 31st December 1999, I was getting ready to go to a fancy dress party on Millennium Eve. (Naturally I donned a rather long scarf and went as Tom Baker’s incarnation of Doctor Who).
But I took my trusty Nokia mobile with me. Because various media agencies around the world wanted to call me shortly after midnight in case “anything catastrophic” happened due to the Y2K bug.
How would I possibly know? I told them. I’ll be at a party.
But they insisted, so I played along.
As it turned out the Millennium Time Bomb was something of a damp squib. Whether that is more because it had been overhyped by the media, or due to the hard diligent work of software engineers in the years running up to January 1st 2000, I’ll let you debate for yourselves.
But it’s funny to think that it was 15 years ago.
Some things in my life have changed – no doubt yours has too. I’ve got married, had a child (W32/Cluley-A), and now work for myself rather than a corporation. Fortunately, I’m still free of grey hairs – but I don’t think it will take another 15 years for them to make them their presence felt.
What’s also funny is that I had spent no small part of 1999, debunking a quote put out by a Symantec researcher claiming that there could be 200,000 new computer viruses on January 1st 2000.
How we scoffed and chortled at the absurdity of that statement. And yet, here we are on the eve of January 1st 2015, and there most malware labs see something like 300,000 new samples every single day – that’s more than one every second.
Back at the tail-end of 1999 that would have seemed like science fiction. But in the intervening years, organised criminals have woken up to the opportunity to make large sums of money from malware, and turned on a conveyor belt of cybercrime.
Make it your news resolution to ensure your computers and data are well protected, and help those family and friends who are less clued-up about how to defend themselves against attacks.
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