Saturday, February 6, 2010

Phishing attacks

I was just reading an article on CNN.com regarding phishing attacks hitting Twitter and it got me thinking about security and the Internet. More specifically, I started thinking about how easy it is to go online and forget about the potential dangers which may be lurking out there.

We, as a society, are at a point where going online is practically second nature. It's incredibly easy to hop onto a computer and be connected to the Internet in a matter of moments. Actually, it's become even easier than that if one considers the fact that this action can take place nowadays from a telephone. (I'll bet Alexander Graham Bell never saw that one coming...)

At the risk of dating myself, does anyone else out there remember how long going online used to take with a dial-up modem? I still cringe at the thought of that worse-than-nails-on-a-chalkboard grating noise those modems would make while trying to connect. Reliable sources tell me that very noise is constantly piped through the PA system in hell...

Anyhow, our need-to-have-it-now society has made Internet use extremely convenient. The true danger of extreme convenience, though, is that we often forget the other dangers involved. This holds true for more than just online computer transactions. Think for a moment about how dangerous it sounds to strap yourself into a 4000 pound steel cage and carom at incredible speeds, along side other 4000 pound steel cages also moving as fast. Yet most people drive on a daily basis without giving it a second thought. Driving is just how we get around.

This isn't to say that people, on the whole, aren't responsible with convenience or the technology entailed. Rather, it is easy to lose sight of the very real potential for danger once we take something for granted. Take your eyes off the road to pick up a dropped cell phone, and you very well could end someones life. Visit a shady website, and you might give away valuable information and fall victim to identity theft.

I suppose that my point with all this is to say that it only makes sense to consider the gravity of our actions, even for tasks which seem mundane. The potential for grave consequences is out there and it is easy to lose sight of that in a world where we are preoccupied with so much else.

So please be careful when using passwords online. Make sure the site you are logging into is the actual site. If in doubt, don't give out a password or any other important information and take a little time to do some research. It might not be convenient, but it could save you from a lot of headache and stress in the long run.

The link to the CNN article is Reports: Phishing attack hits Twitter.



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