It has all the makings of a sci-fi doomsday scenario: at 10 minutes and 10 seconds past 10 o'clock on Oct. 10, 2010 (10/10/10), a malicious computer virus will sweep the Internet and topple our tech-savvy society.
Despite online fears that the symmetry in this Sunday's date will spell danger, Internet security experts say that for cybercriminals, Oct. 10, 2010, is just another day.
Echoing Y2K concerns that a specific date and time would cause computers to go haywire, a Facebook group asks, "Will my computer still work at 10.10.10 at 10:10 a.m.?"
But Graham Cluley, a senior technology consultant for computer security firm Sophos, said the whole idea that a special virus would rear its ugly head on Sunday is "codswallop."
"I think everyone loves the idea of a countdown … the whole drama of it. People latch on to these funny dates and times," said Cluley. "But as far as people who write viruses are concerned, big deal."
60,000 Pieces of Malicious Software Hit Internet Every Day
In the lead-up to March 3, 2003 (03/03/03), Internet users worried the Internet would stop working, he said. And we all remember the ticking time bomb fears surrounding Jan. 1, 2000 (Y2K).
But just like those fears, Clulely said, the 10/10/10 concerns are equally unfounded.
He said every 24 hours, Internet criminals churn out 60,000 new pieces of malicious software -- that's about one new attack every second and a half.
"Focusing on a particular day is just daft," Cluley said. "You need to take computer security seriously all year long."
He said some computer geeks might attach extra significance to 10/10/10 because 101010 is binary code for the number 42, which in "The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy" signifies the answer to "Life, the Universe and Everything."
For Couples Tying the Knot, 10/10/10 Is Auspicious
And for thousands of couples preparing to tie the knot this weeekend, 10/10/10 promises to be an auspicious day.
But, Cluley added, "Hackers don't care about that. They're going to infect you every day of the year."