blue sky

Home     Display     HandyHints

The Cyber Minefield
Kitchener pointing the finger -YOU are at risk!
the dangers of taking the internet at face value

It comes from the nowhere, it goes to the no-place, and here it is: that self-serving ethereal world of the Internet. Since its creation, at least as far as we users are concerned, it has wheedled its way into our lives and we are becoming ever-more reliant on it. At first we were sceptical, but the Frankenteins who created it told us it was perfectly safe and we believed them, the same way we accepted the reassurances of their physicist cousins who discovered nuclear fission. What are we - naive, stupid, or simply desperate to embrace anything new for fear of missing out on the benefits? Make no mistake, there are advantages, perhaps some way beyond comprehension; but they come at a price, one we would do well to consider before we accept total domination by this awesome dictator.

The amazing thing is that a tool so powerful can spring from something as small as a silicon chip. If rumours are true, the next stage will be the nano-dot, a component invisible to the naked eye which can store massive amounts of data and increase the speed of computer modules phenomenally. Big deal, you might say - more power to us, and you will probably be right. But think about this - even employing the sophisticated technology of today, a complex security password might take years to crack; with the nano-dot, the same code could be broken in just hours! Then, your PC, laptop, Ipad and tablet, even your mobile phone, are virtually open books for anyone to browse, copy and download from. So much for safe!

My main concern is how far and fast this cyber invasion is spreading. Bad enough that personal information can be poached and used for identity theft. This kind of crime not only costs money, then the time to repair any damage, but afterwards the victim is left feeling insecure and despoiled as if their home has been broken into and their personal belongings rifled through. How much worse is it when the sanctity of family and relationships is compromised? It can happen, it does happen. The Internet makes it very, very possible.

In a few cases, infiltration of our systems is perpetrated by a group of geeks with amazing programming skills and motivated by some immature compulsion to create havoc. Following their touch of insanity, our computers go haywire, sometimes crash completely and often present us with puerile comments and even images of a silly or obscene nature. The bugs and viruses that inflict this disruption to our routine, though temporarily inconvenient, are rarely regarded as little more than nuisance value and are quickly remedied by a reliable security manager. Anyone who doesn't have one to guard their system should invest, pretty quick smart, because the dangers from hackers are going to increase. And it won't necessarily be the kind who are just out for a bit of fun. Hacking is big business offering huge rewards for the scammers, high costs for their victims.

Not so long ago, an Australian home-owner went overseas for a lengthy period. When he returned, his house had been sold without his knowledge or consent and the elaborate deception had been engineered over the Internet by someone in Nigeria! How they achieved this seemingly impossible deception, I have no idea. Presumably, whatever loop-hole they found hadn't been anticipated by those who'd set up the system in the first place. Needless to say, questions were asked and embarrassed authorities were racing around like crazy to plug the gap and make sure the same thing never happened again. Unfortunately, it will, somehow. Cyber criminals know that pickings via the Internet are easy when their marks are so trusting and complacent. It's money for nothing, and the click's for free!

See next page

Click this Click for PDF file image to view or print complete article.

  Back to beginning of article

Money     Health     Focus     Popcorn     Recipes     eBooks     About     Contact

copyright © 2011-2015  All Rights Reserved