I know I have been blathering on about insider threats lately, so let’s go to the other extreme – the ultimate outsider threat.
A pair of researchers have given some thought to the possibility of aliens hacking us (us being Earth) via interstellar messages.
From their paper:
Our main argument is that a message from ETI cannot be decontaminated with certainty. For anything more complex than easily printable images or plain text, the technical risks are impossible to assess beforehand. We may only choose to destroy such a message, or take the risk. The risk for humanity may be small, but not zero. The probability of encountering malicious ETI first might be very low. Perhaps it is much more likely to receive a message from positive ETI. Also, the potential benefits from joining a galactic network might be considerable.
If the aliens have the ability to create Flash content, we are doomed.