Saturday, December 15, 2007

Food for thought

Going by the title, I bet most of my regular readers are anticipating another blog where I talk about food, fat and other pleasantries :) !! Naah, don't you worry, this time, I am actually thinking, so this ain't a stupid blog on food.

I read this particular comment on Slashdot by a user "Opportunist" and it got me all thinking about our responsibilities as netizens sharing a common information highway. Have you ever wondered that to do anything in this society you need a license, a permission? To drive, you need a driving license, to possess a weapon you need license etc. etc. This licensing scheme though has many pitfalls, actually makes you liable for your actions, and brings order in the otherwise chaotic society. I remember my Indian license has these words on its last page "Driving is a privilege, not a right".

However, when it comes to sharing the Internet (hey you can't deny, the entire Internet is a giant interconnected web) we somehow don't seem to have any responsibilities. In this world of always-on Internet if your computer gets compromised, you are not only hurting your own self, but also hurting others on the Internet (which means, technically you are a threat to everybody!). If a user doesn't know how to protect his/her computer on the net, then he/she shouldn't be allowed to use the Internet. Cause every compromised computer is a time bomb waiting to wreak havoc ....

Well, on a lighter note I remember two years back there was this particular virus that infected my client organization's computer network. Around 10:00 AM in the morning I got a instant message from my boss which said "Hey Girish! Check this out, photo of you and me from last night ". Luckily for me, I didn't click on the link, cause well I didn't expect my straight faced boss sending me such messages outta context and secondly I wasn't with him the earlier night :P !! But all said and done, there were at least 100 other users in the network that clicked on similar messages that they received, and in no time the entire network was infected by the virus. We lost most of our network functions for more than 2 hours after that. Imagine 40000+ users not working for 2 hours because some people were fullish enough to click on links that weren't relevant.

Hmm, so what am I trying to say from all this? Well, since we are not as computer savvy as the brains behind these attacks are, our only defense is to be street smart while on the Internet, and behave like responsible citizens, who are sharing a road!

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