Tuesday, October 20, 2009

The Black Plague 2.0

I consider myself to be quite tech savvy so I won’t bash too hard on those that aren’t, but honest to god, some things just come down to common sense, regardless of if it’s displayed on a computer screen or not.

The internet is a breeding ground for exploitation; this is why Anti-virus companies are in business. People are clever in how they pull people in, very clever. I find that they play on your fears and your desires, for example, virginal teenagers would love to have a tool which lets them know who has blocked them on their IM application, and people would panic at the site of their screen when something like this or this comes up. With the exception of the hoax advertisements, this is why we call these things viruses, because they spread in the exact same fashion a virus would in the real-world and, this is the part that bothers me, when we see them spread we have nobody else to blame but ourselves, I mean, the creators do just that, they code it, package it and send it off to one person and then it goes nuts, from one stupid person to the next, like a virtual domino effect of mindless mouse-clicking. I must ask why this is happening; I cannot stress that question enough.

The MSN Block Checker is the best example I personally can think of. Now, any techy that is an MSN/ Live user would know that the lists of who is actually online and who is offline was made virtually inaccessible on the MSN servers due to improved privacy features as far back as when I was starting high school (2003), unless of course if they are online on your contact list, which defeats the purpose entirely; this act of checking who on your contact list has you blocked, which was once possible, is otherwise known as 'block checking'. The MSN Block Checker would simply embed itself into the skeleton of the messenger application and seamlessly (or not so seamless, not too sure) send out brief messages to your contacts (or what I call a virtual sneeze) with a link to a page to download the program which will then turn your computer into a new host. So to those that fell victim to this, look, I’m not too sure about your friends, but none of mine have ever started a conversation with "Hey! Have you tried MSN Block Checker? It's great - http://www.block-checker.com" and yet, with that fact in mind, you still continued to visit the site and hit download only to be the next person to be sending out the exact same virtual sneezes that roped you in initially. I must admit though, most unlike others that would just link you to a download file, Block Checker had an actual website (pictured here – I am pretty sure this is the one), small but quite convincing nevertheless, this would explain its success rate, but still no excuse.

Aside from that one in particular, MSN have had many less elaborate yet successful hoaxes of the same manner, same do websites with their aforementioned hoax virus warnings and even search engines that have picked up a site which uses tricky methods in getting you to type in your bank or credit card details and to hit submit; it’s all relative, and all the same it’s ridiculous that people are so easily convinced.

So it would seem that as technology continues to progress that our sound judgment is in slow regress. Evidently now in the year 2009, our common sense, or lack thereof, must now be utilised into web tools that our Microsofts and Googles implement as 'phishing filters'. Suddenly not only has technology’s advancements allowed us to send mail instantly to time zones away or be able to execute a task without any need of assistance, but now it would also seem that it is needed to tell us when an obvious fake is in fact a fake, I mean, come on? Although, these features maybe useful (don’t get me wrong), they are primarily there to prevent those of which cannot differentiate a pop-up advertisement from a program on their computer, and as a consequence, they are the ones who spread Trojans like it’s the sequel of The Black Plague.

Think of it this way, if you received a letter in the regular mail asking you to return it with one hundred dollars for home foundation repairs that they seem to be pretty sure that your home requires and if you don’t, your home will be at risk of collapse, would you send the money?

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