alexmann wrote:If and When a ship gets taken over surely the computer should be programmed to lock itself and all primary systems from used by unauthorised personel and possibly even disable environmental control to kill all invaders rather than simply cooperating?
Well, here's how I see this. A hard drive works by spinning a disc, and moving a sensor across it to scan magnetized areas in order to read information. Given the technology we've seen in Trek, it's not at all inconceivable that something like a tricorder could scan the surface of a computer's hard drive directly with its own sensors, rather than accessing it via the computer hardware. It's also not inconceivable that the tricorder could analyze that information and create a picture of what the software and data it finds is, and how it works.
It's also not inconceivable that it could rewrite the magnetized areas using its own systems. After all, they clearly have the ability to modify things at a distance - a transporter has systems which can reach across 40,000 km and pull individual atoms apart. Compared to that, magnetizing bits of a computer drive is pretty simple.
With a method like this could totally bypass most anything we think of as computer security. Virus checkers, firewalls and such wouldn't know anything was happening. No doubt there are things you could defend against it - check the program you're about to run against a backup copy, for example. But then, how do you know the backup copy wasn't also altered?
And there's nothing to say this stuff couldn't also scan and change the contents of the RAM or even ROM and change those, too - literally rewrite the software as it is running.
The limiting factor to that would be how well can your tricorder (or whatever) analyze what it is scanning, and how clever is it in coming up with modifications that will work? Where I see that going is that there would be a sort of competing arms race... people devising software that is difficult to analyze and difficult to modify, other people devising systems that are better at beating those defences. You might also have sensor scramblers and such in operation around the computer cores, assuming that it didn't affect the core itself.
And if I remember right there's even support for this approach. When Paris was in Rain Robinson's lab in Future's End, he was able to scan her computer with his tricorder and then trash her data without ever touching the computer.
Give a man a fire, and you keep him warm for a day. SET a man on fire, and you will keep him warm for the rest of his life...