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20 November 2006, 14:08

Worm penetrates virtual game world "Second Life"

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It almost sounds like a cross between Neal Stephenson's "Snow Crash" and Michael Crichton's "Prey" - the online virtual world "Second Life" has been attacked by a digital worm, according to Second Life operator Linden Labs' blog. The worm, known as Grey Goo (a reference to the hypothetical destruction of the world by nanobots) has, according to user reports, placed rotating golden rings in the game world. How exactly the worm spreads has not been explained, but it allegedly requires a player to interact with the rings.

Grey Goo has apparently placed a considerable burden on the game world's databases, as a result of which all activities in the virtual world have been slowed down. Linden Labs were forced to block all logins for half an hour in order to clear out the worm and the rings.

Virtual worlds are currently booming on the internet. For example, over one and a half million gamers are registered as inhabitants of "Second Life". The Springer publishing house has even published a tabloid newspaper in the virtual world and PC vendor Dell has established on Second Life its Dell Island, from where it plans to sell both virtual PCs to Second Lifers, and of course real PCs to them back in the real world. IBM is also interested in virtual worlds and has already organised the first alumni meeting for current and former IBM staff in Second Life.

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