Monday, November 25, 2013

The Internet can be a scary place

Week 7

We all know how to use the Internet and we all know how to search for things on the internet and we all download or open things on the internet. But just as we know how to access the internet and get what we want or use it for our own purposes, other people knows how to use it for their own purposes as well. Sometimes, these purposes are less then reputable and can be quite shady. For example, hackers can use the internet to try and get to our personal information and 'steal' our identity. They can easily do this by bridging our internet security by sing codes such as worms and viruses or trojans. 

0This video gives a brief explanation as to what are worms, trojans and viruses.

As can be seen, viruses, worms and trojans can gain access to our computers when we either open emails or click on links that are not reputable or seems suspicious. These links and emails may seem harmless but they can allow these worms or viruses to be downloaded into our computers without us knowing and either copies itself and target our computer system and slowing it down or even gain access to our personal information. Another way for these malicious codes to gain access into our computers is when we download stuff from the internet. When we visit unrepeatable websites and download free content from the internet, we are opening our doors to these malicious codes that can essentially destroy our computers or our lives (if they allow people to gain access to our personal information)

These malicious codes are not just used to target individuals on a large scale. It can also be used to target large industrial organisations and infrastructures. An example would be the Stuxnet worm that was used to target the nuclear plant in Iran. The scary thing about the worm was that it was design to only target the nuclear facilities in Iran and no where else in the world. This is truly terrifying, knowing that such malware can be target specific and can bring down large industrial infrastructure at a whim shows the deadly potential that it contains.

Although for the average individual, we do not have huge industrial infrastructures that we have to worry about, we have to worry about tour own privacy being bridge, These days,we store all sorts of information our computers. From our work to our personal emails and maybe some store their credit card information on their browsers because they always shop online. All this information can be access by hackers or identity thieves if they have remote access to our computers such as using remote access trojans. Therefore, it is important for individuals to make sure that they do grant such access by not opening unfamiliar emails or clicking on links that they do not know or even downloading things or programs from websites that they do not recognise. Because by doing so, they are making themselves vulnerable and an open target for people with malicious intends.

Another way for people to protect themselves is to acquire antivirus softwares that can scan files that are downloaded for malicious contents. There are many free softwares available for download and they are fine to use. However, for a more thorough protection,  individuals should acquire softwares that provide all rounded protection such as scheduled scanning of the hard drive and monitoring internet activities.

Although antivirus softwares are a good way to make sure that our computers are safe, sometimes there are also flaws in the software that can lead to malware being left on our computers or escaping the watch of the antivirus software. a quick search on google would show that there are many cases where there are flaws in the antivirus softwares that are available to the users. There are also incidents where the antivirus software would recognise a file as a false positive because of how the file is coded or written. This article on LifeHackers, How Do You Know If Your Download Really Has a Virus, explains w3hat a false positive is and how we can make sure that our file download is not a false positive and really has a virus. In the article, they quote a example from McAfee, where they released a new update to their antivirus software that ends up deleting system files that it thought was malicious which results in the computer not being able to boot. Therefore, as can be seen, although antivirus software is the solution to ensuring that our computers are safe from malicious malware, it should also be noted that sometimes, antivirus softwares can fail.Therefore, the best solution is still to be cautious on our own and be sure to not click or open links that we are not familiar with.

And to conclude, here is a link to a page that talks about the 10 scariest computer viruses in existence. Enjoy!


  1. Thank you for the links posted on your page! They really help. The internet really is a scary place, we should all be very careful as we use the internet. We can be so easily hacked. O_O

  2. Your links are so useful!! I download a lot of stuff (shhh!) and this post really helped me alot! As what pris said, we should really be careful with what we do on the internet. You could check out my post on the 6 simple steps on how to protect yourself against hackers! (: