The New Year's Day Virus

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Humor  |  House: Booksie Classic

Big trouble comes in small packages.

I missed the contest but reading about it gave me an idea.

I wish people wouldn’t blame Mom and Dad for what happened.  I’m the one who created the New Year’s Day Virus.  That I am a ten-year-old girl does not matter.

Some children are good at sports.  Some make friends easily.  I’m really good at math.

No telling how many people lost their jobs in the chaos after January 1st.  Being outsmarted by a kid is hard to explain to your boss.  It doesn’t look good on a resume.

I admit it was petty.  When you get picked on by the meanest girl in school, you think about revenge.  I didn’t want to hurt anyone.  I just wanted to mess with Maribeth Galloway. 

The virus I developed would set her PC clock ahead by 1000 years.  Not immediately, but at midnight on New Year’s Eve.  Maribeth was a social maven and depended on her iCal to keep up.  She had bragged about what she would do that day.  I wanted to make her miss something important. 

256-bit encryption had been the standard for computer security for decades.  It could be overpowered, but that would require sorting through such a large number of combinations that even the fastest computer would take too long.  Put another 74 zeroes after 1,000 and you get the idea.

I didn’t hack 256-bit encryption.  I stumbled on a shortcut some developers had implemented.  The encryption caused performance issues in certain systems.  They used complex math to speed things up.  They didn’t realize a ten-year-old girl could figure it out. 

Danny Caldera is a cute boy I have a crush on.  I told him about the virus.  When he dared me to show him, I didn’t say no.  When he asked me to be his girlfriend, I didn’t say no.  It lasted long enough for him to steal a copy my program.  Danny’s brother belongs to Anonymous.  The hacker collective devoted to computer mayhem. 

Anonymous loaded the virus onto the server at The International Bureau of Weights and Measures.  The world’s official electronic time standard.  Many systems periodically compare and reset their time to the IBWM server.

At midnight, on the last day of the year, the clocks on some of the world’s most important computers jumped ahead by 1000 years.

Changing them back was easy.  But the damage was immediate.  Banks, for example.  At 1% interest, one thousand years of compounding turns $100 into $20 million.  When people saw inflated balances, they made withdrawals.  Banks ran out of money and closed. 

Anonymous started a rumor that the virus was from China.  Tensions between East and West were high.  When the stock markets opened, they crashed.  Automatic triggers shut down the markets, after several trillion dollars of wealth disappeared.

By Friday, I was talking to FBI agents.  Stories about me were all over the internet.

I’m hoping things turn out okay.  The FBI says the folks at Anonymous will do prison time.  They spoke to Mom and Dad regarding my plans.  Something about hiring me after college.

Submitted: January 13, 2016

© Copyright 2021 Serge Wlodarski. All rights reserved.

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Add Your Comments:


Criss Sole

Oh kids these day hehehehe. I would want to punish her.... but at that age she certainly is a genius... so yeah, I'd offer her a job and hope she stays out of trouble. I would have given you first prize for this one :)

Thu, January 14th, 2016 1:32pm


I'll take it!

Thu, January 14th, 2016 11:50am


Absolutely loved this, Serge. There are some phenomenally gifted kids out there without the understanding of long term consequences. But there wouldn't have been much real harm if it hadn't been for the boyfriend.

Sun, September 25th, 2016 1:52pm


As someone who's been in the IT business for 20 years, I can assure you nobody screws stuff up like we do.

Mon, September 26th, 2016 2:59am


Cool - your knowledge of computers and finance lends the story authenticity. Always was disappointed Y2K didn't happen - disaster is fun!

Sat, April 29th, 2017 7:31am


Thanks. Y2K was mostly hype but the real parts of it didn't happen because people like me got paid a lot of money to change 2 digit year fields to 4 digits. It's good work if you can get it.

Sat, April 29th, 2017 3:11am

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