Gremlins first came to the notice of the public from stories of military pilots who claimed to see small creatures causing mishaps with their machines. Various media have portrayed these agents of entropy ever since, usually in the context of airplanes but sometimes sinking their fangs into other complex machinery.
In the Information Age, Gremlins would find that their activities would not impact things quite so much as formerly. With the variety of sensors and diagnostics available, the old standards of severing cables and cutting hydraulic lines would not be as effective; the activity would not go unnoticed, given the ever-watchful ‘eye’ of various processors that are built into engines specifically to counter any such problems.
However, these very same processors give the Gremlin far more opportunity for their shenanigans; being much smaller scale and more vulnerable to interference, a light touch can go a long way towards interrupting vital processes in a way that is even harder to diagnose and repair than it would otherwise be.
The advent of computers in the office grants them even more opportunity, for the paradigm that the computer enables allows for entire new catagories of chaos. Viruses and worms could well be their agents of interruption, wreaking havoc with the vulnerable hardware and software and causing more work for the IT analogues of the mechanics of old.
It may well be that gremlins have infiltrated the offices of Microsoft and other large software vendors–new vulnerabilities come out every week for Microsoft products, but those operating systems based on technology developed before gremlins began to take an interest in computers (and those which are open-sourced and hence have fewer opportunities for a sly tweak of a bit here and there, given the number of eyes watching for that) are less influenced by their attentions.
Given the patterns of virus distribution, it may well be that gremlins’ natural habitat has moved to China, Russia, and other less-industrialized nations–this is perhaps unsurprising, given that the older machinery with which they are familiar may still be in use in some of those locations.
Perhaps the strongest indicator of gremlin activity may be the Stuxnet worm: beyond simply infecting systems and slowing or stopping them, the Stuxnet worm caused actual damage to machinery–damage that was difficult to fix and in a location that required deep disassembly, a hallmark of gremlin infestation. That the worm spread far beyond its “target” is, perhaps, a testament to their other work in finding vulnerabilities–and if it were the work of gremlins, then other examples will be likely to show up in the future.
The internet’s ability to camoflage identity may well assist the gremlins in their work. Their natural love of mischeif could well result in the sort of childish pranks popularly assigned to ‘hackers’ and the like; their elusive, shifty nature meshing well with the milieu involved. A large part of Anonymous could well be gremlins, recruiting various regular people to camoflage their operations and to extend their troublemaking to the real world.
Gremlins would mesh quite well with the modern world, so long as they kept up with new technology, and would likely achieve some remarkable successes in troublemaking.