The April Fool Joke put out on the Google Search Pages this morning has caused a huge security scare in the computer security community and many companies have been left reeling from the effects.
Googly put a link to Cadie, a joke artificial intelligence system, on its search pages today as an April Fool's joke. However, the massive amount of activity on the internet from people clicking on the link coincided with predicted activity from the Conficker worm. Computer security companies reacted to what they saw as a potential threat to the integrity of the World Wide Web by shutting down access to key services.
Major companies around the globe suddenly found that they could not access many of their usual web-based services. Not realising that these were being blocked at the DNS servers on the Internet, they presumed their in-house systems had been infected with Conficker and began shutting down systems and sending staff home.
Because priority was given to protecting SSL-secured systems, many of the affected parts of the web have been secure HTTPS systems used for credit card payments and money transfers, causing millions of on-line purchases and bank transactions to fail.
The cost to world business is being estimated at $30-50Trillian, but this could increase dramatically when consequential losses are included. Google have stated they intend to 'make things right' following the problems. They say they are going to change their mantra to "First, do no harm" to "It wasn't us".