Internet under attack

Aug 12 2013, 12:37 IST
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SummaryThe internet is wrought with all kinds of dangers for your mobile phone, laptop or tablet.

Two decades ago, it began with basic threats like worms and viruses, or kids in high school trying to compete to see how many email accounts they could hack. These days, individuals and businesses, of all sizes, are increasingly struggling to defend themselves from the explosive growth in security threats and cyberattacks. Attackers continue to strengthen and evolve the techniques and tools they use to assault privacy, bank accounts, mobile devices and businesses.

The internet is wrought with all kinds of dangers for your mobile phone, laptop or tablet, as well as for your personal information. Earlier this month, renowned industrialist Nikhil Nanda, who is also Escorts Group’s joint managing director, became the latest victim of internet crime when some UK-based cyber criminals cheated him into divulging his email password, and then sent out mails to his contacts seeking money transfer for a relative’s operation in Manchester.

Even otherwise, July 2013 was a busy month for security breaches—it was reported that Club Nintendo had been breached with the personal data of up to four million stolen by attackers; the forums of Ubuntu were hacked with the loss of 1.82 million user names, passwords and email addresses. Additionally, Apple announced that their developer website has had an unknown amount of personal data stolen.

The crux of the matter is that the internet at large is under threat. The global dependence on technology and specifically the internet has grown manifold over the last two decades. As a result, there have been a flurry of dangerous attacks which have been planned and executed, intending to cripple global organisations through the internet.

Few are aware but it has been 25 years since the discovery of the first computer worm which spread through the internet. Famously named ‘Morris worm’ after its creator, Robert Tappan Morris, a student from Cornell University, it was supposedly an attempt to ‘measure’ the scope of the internet. But when unleashed, it managed to infect close to 6,000 computers as collateral damage. The code contained a bug that allowed the worm to infect a single machine multiple times and spread to other computers through the internet. And this was just the beginning!

In 1999, the Melissa Virus affected about 20% of computers worldwide. Email servers around the world were forced to shut down in order to prevent the virus from spreading, as well as to remove the virus from their system. In 2004, the MyDoom worm,

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