When did they first appear? They have been around since the invention of network computing. Online intruders are sometimes called internet intruders or network intruders and they came in many forms. They invade our privacy once we plug in the network cable to the ISP router.
Its like going to a conventional mall and once you step into those big sliding doors, you started seeing all kinds of banners, posters and people approaching you to inform you of another mall is having a big promotion. What would you call this? Outright rudeness. Yes, rudely invading our privacy even though we just want to buy our favourite durian cakes.
In a real world, physical malls do not do this but Internet Websites does this all the times. They are commonly known as online intruders and they are the numero uno of security threats. This makes them the Internet number one public enemies to the normal users. To avoid them, we need to know them and as Sun Tzu’s in his Art Of War said “If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles.”
Who are they and how to identify them? The following are a general descriptions of the 5 of the most commons enemies of the modern internet and its time to get to know them.
In the age of inbound marketing, most people know what to look for and where to find for them by using a search engines. Still most websites have ads on their pages. The ads are usually for product or services that has no relationship to the pages that you are viewing. We see Amazon gift vouchers ads while reading the result of Liverpool vs Watford. Are they expecting us to buy a gift voucher to the winning team?
In one of the internet inbound marketing class, the lecturer states that with good keywords, you don’t need advertising to reach out to the right audiences. The search engines will bring the audiences to you. That was then.
Now ads is everywhere as majority of websites are doing their best to bring audiences from the click thru of the ads. There are armies of ads all over the pages and whether we click on them or not, we have been marked by them.
Then there is malware a.k.a malicious software that cause major headaches to computer users, malware can be embedded in ads or even in official software that we are using. As long as there is a computer codes, scripts or any software that is acting against our interest, they are called a malware.
How do we get them? We can get them by installing free bundled software, scareware or thru filesharing services.
Sounds like fishing and that’s what it does, they put a bait and hope that you click on the bait and then they steal all our information from our computer. Wikipedia put it as “Phishing is the fraudulent attempt to obtain sensitive information such as usernames, passwords and credit card details by disguising as a trustworthy entity in an electronic communication.” Not going to write too much since wikipedia has quite a detail on it. You can read the detail here.
Some of the common baits are like warning of security intrusion or lack of security pop up, a too good to be true offers, email scams or winning a competition.
Another favourite marketing and sales tools that is parts of most search engines and websites SOP is content and ads tracking features.
The last one that I need to mention here is ransomware. This is by far the most dangerous of all the intruders and its a nightmare to get rid of it. The best way to stop ransomware is to prevent it from getting into our computers.
Recently I did a test to find out how fast a ransomware can hit a computer. My test environment consists of a Windows Server setup as a KVM guest OS in a datacenter.
Enable RDP for remote access and 20 minutes later the server were hit with RDP ransomware which renames ALL the exe files to something else. Rendering all the applications in the server useless.
Imagine if you have a full production server with critical data and got hit by ransomware? Either pay the ransom or wipe everything and start anew as there is no tools or software available to remove them. At least with a malware or a virus, we can still kill or get rid of the pests with our antivirus software.
They are everywhere in the cyberspace. Hiding in plain sight and masquerade themselves as a legit technology tools. The superpowers in computing and technology such as Microsoft and the technical gurus employed by anti-virus companies can only do so much against them.
Antivirus companies loves the Microsoft Windows and will look at new vulnerabilities as their source of revenues. The last time I used a Windows OS for daily tasks was 10 years ago and stopped using it dues to so many security issues, daily security updates and fixes AND surprisingly none of it was for preventing virus or online intruders as mentioned earlier.10 years on and it’s still the same old Windows.
As I said earlier, it only took 20 minutes before my server was hit by RDP ransomware. This server is freshly installed with default settings except for the RDP access. Without installing antivirus, anti-malware, anti ads and anti-tracking, we will be exposing our computers to unknown dangers.
Can we? Not really for they cannot be killed or destroyed. If money is not an issue, go ahead and buy those bloated internet security software. Some may say that reputable and established companies have free to use internet security software to protect your computers. I tried the free version and it is so annoying and irritating to use. Here I am trying to get rid of ads or block ads, and ironically, the same free software is showing me ads to buy the commercial version.
In the next coming article, we will explore ways to subdue the enemies without fighting. Yes we are not going to fight the enemies but we are going to hide from them. Yes, hide and be anonymous whenever you are in the cyberspace.If they can’t see you, they cannot stalk, hunt or hurt you, this is the key to stop Ads, Malware, Phishing, Tracking and Ransomware from attacking you.
“The supreme art of war is to subdue the enemy without fighting.” ― Sun Tzu, The Art of War.