A Year of NOVID-19

It’s been a year a year like no other. Social distancing. Paper hoarding.  DPE. Isolating  ourselves to reduce spread and avoid becoming one of the afflicted. But after a year of not having to make excuses about ignoring your aunt’s friend request and finally watching that DVD you bought in 2005, there’s a ray of hope in combating STRM-NOVID-19 and a return to normalcy.

It was just over a year ago that mobile phone users started experiencing audio-only teleconferencing and video-less Netflix and YouTube streams. Mystified users kept trying to explain to their parents how to enable video in Facetime and complained to their mobile carriers that they were throttling the video out of their streams. But it soon became clear that a virus was sweeping through the connected ecosystem.

Dubbed STRM-NOVID-19, the  virus belongs to the family of mostly innocuous NOVID viruses. At some point in their lives just about every Windows PC catches BSOD-NOVID-92, particularly around Windows Update season. Afflicted devices tend to recover on their own after a time. Some variants affect older devices. For example TiVo DVRs over the age of five are prone to TIVO-NOVID-01, but usually make a full recovery after drive replacement surgery.

The perniciousness of STRM-NOVID-19 is its attack on young, seemingly healthy devices. It was initially thought that the disease was spread via software updates only, as is the case with many other NOVID viruses. However it soon became clear that the virus was making use of social networks to propagate. Infected devices could go for days without exhibiting symptoms of the NOVID-19 disease, and some remained altogether asymptomatic, all the while passing the virus on to the devices of friends, family, and other Facebook contacts.

How Did It Start?

Understanding how the NOVID-19 pandemic started is essential in preventing future outbreaks and refining how we deal with them. It has long been suspected that NOVID-19  is a mutant of the NOVID virus which commonly infects lightbulbs, coffee makers, and other connected household appliances with  no ill effects. While some scientists speculate this was a result of natural evolution of the virus, the virus’s affinity for social networks and asymptomatic spread  has led others to believe it is an engineered virus.

A recent report jointly authored by the World Internet Organization and the hacker group Malware ‘R Us has indicated that the virus was absolutely, positively not an engineered virus that had escaped into the wild from Malware ‘R Us’s lab, which by sheer coincidence is located in the vicinity of Facebook’s headquarters. The report suggests further study into USB drives containing firmware upgrades for frozen fish shipping containers as a possible vector.

How to Stay Safe

Isolate. The best way to prevent your devices from acquiring STRM-NOVID-19 is to isolate them from contact with other devices. Disable all Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and cellular connections. Unplug any wired network connections.

When you must go online for essential activities such as ordering online groceries or watching Game of Thrones, practice the following:

Social Distancing. Do not access social networks such as Facebook or Twitter from your devices, and do not expose your devices to any device which has been in contact with a social network. If you absolutely must access a social network, for example to get your Aunt Hilda’s recipe for stewed lamb,  do so from a quarantined device that is isolated from all other devices. Make sure the quarantined device is sanitized before each use.

Use DPE.  Device Protective Equipment will reduce the chance that your device will contract NOVID-19. For most consumers this means using a firewall with a good filter that will screen out NOVID-19. Two or more layers are recommended. While proper use of DPE can greatly reduce the chances of contracting NOVID-19, it is still important to avoid high risk activities and practice social distancing.

And Finally, Don’t Panic!

The internet-wide pandemic has led some users to hoard supplies such as burnable CDs and DVDs so they can continue to share cat videos.  Some have also been hoarding paper as they resort to non-instant messaging, leading to a paper shortage.

Don’t panic. As some hoarders have already realized, it will take decades for their CD burners and printers to go through the basement-full of blank CDs and reams of paper. There’s plenty of essential supplies to meet the immediate need, and manufacturers are ramping up production to ensure long-term supply.

All of us at Koherence hope that you’re staying safe in these – dare we say it – unprecedented times. Hopefully this post, on this special day in 2021, brings a bit of levity as you shelter in place and try to find the optimal storage for all the toilet paper you bought. And let’s be thankful that STRM-NOVID-19 isn’t running rampant through the connected world…something that would surely bring an end to existence as we know it. Stay healthy!