How a Word File Can Take Down a Government

Tales from the Encrypted

How a Word File Can Take Down a Government


wenty years ago, Will Smith and Jeff Goldblum saved the planet from imminent destruction by uploading malware onto an alien mother ship using an Apple PowerBook. To do this, they commandeered a scout ship that had crashed in the middle of the Nevada desert and flew out into space, to interface with its systems in order to take control and blow it up. Compared to this drudgery, today they could have probably sent the aliens an email with malware as an attachment, and their work would be done.

What, you ask, is a malware? In the world of nefarious software programmes, “malware” is an umbrella term for malicious software, written with the intent of causing varying degrees of harm to the host’s computer or mobile device. Malware sometimes exists as standalone software – occasionally masquerading as programmes that make dubious claims promising to make your computer faster, or give you free unlimited access to your favourite TV shows, or exist surreptitiously within seemingly harmless files.