World's most powerful supercomputer goes online

Peter Gutmann pgut001 at
Fri Sep 7 03:55:41 EDT 2007

Another potential use for the Storm worm... I can't imagine this would be why
it's being assembled since there's no money in it, but consider the prospect
of x million machines cycling from idle to full load once a minute.  If the
power swing in doing this is (for example) 100 watts per PC then even at 1M
machines that's switching a 100 megawatt load in and out of circuit, which
could cause some fun in power distribution systems.  You could easily double
(or more) this load by putting the PC and monitor to sleep and then running it
up to full load and back down again.

Obviously it's highly unlikely that that's what the Storm botherders are
planning to do with it, apart from the lack of financial motive you'd need to
carefully synchronise the timing, and the PCs would be distributed all over
the world rather than affecting one grid.  Probably the most you'd get is
localised problems, overloading, maybe a few fires from wiring.

OTOH the shock effect of someone being able to do this worldwide would be
something to behold.  Talk about a "light blue touch paper and stand clear".

(If they *do* do this with Storm, remember that you read it here first :-).

A much simpler attack if all you want to do is cause panic would be to just
brick the machines and watch the fun when 1M+ RMAs hit the service channels.


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