Electronic terrorism

Maswood Alam Khan
Those of us who have access to internet are used to unwanted emails—called spam or junk—from unsolicited salespeople that have the sole purpose to allure us to buy or subscribe to something which we would not otherwise spend money or time for or to enter our systems to steal our vital information stored in our personal computers with a motive to passing those info over to syndicates who are robbing banks and credit card holders of billions of dollars every year.

There are hackers too who are out to clog up our systems with viruses ultimately turning our computers inoperable so that we replace our PC with a new one loaded with ever-changing anti-virus software.

In addition, there is a new breed of cunning nerds who spread rumours and hoaxes to derive sadistic pleasures and in some cases to mislead people’s beliefs and faiths.

Nearly all commercial spam messages have an invalid sender address. But there are people who use their valid addresses and contact info to convince you of the genuineness of their messages. Nowadays it is also very easy to forge any sender address of an email, making the message appear to originate from your acquaintances or from any genuine addresses you have always been trusting for your day-to-day communications.

The spam messages will not ask for your bank account number or credit card number lest you suspect the sender’s intention; they will convince you to submit your other particulars like name, street address, telephone numbers etc, the vital identity information that as clues would help them dig out the mother lode in the web leading them to the passwords of your bank account and ATM or credit card.

There are messages from people seeking help, sending SOS messages, telling stories of riches they have inherited but need someone to help him/her manage the huge funds worth millions of dollars in exchange of a share of the fortune, urging to update your web-based email account and a plethora of tricks to deceitfully win your trust. The main purpose of such emails is to know your basic identity information.

Some hackers are thus continuously sending messages to your email addresses in order to garner information that you have mentioned in your financial accounts and others who have already discreetly implanted a virus into your system for the purpose of eavesdropping your activities with your personal computer are minutely monitoring and following the strikes on your keyboard, no matter you are online or offline, to steal your passwords—the main key in modern-day living.

Some believe there is an unholy collaboration among PC manufacturers, hackers, nerds and anti-virus makers to make sure that PC owners like you and me remain busy shopping around in the computer markets. It is somewhat like spreading diseases to make patients to help medical professionals.

A world of comfort and convenience made easy by the revolution of information technology has of late been turned into a viral den of electronic terrorists busy picking our pockets and snatching our sleeps while we are increasingly getting dependent on our computers and used to living in the virtual world of www: the world-wide-web of electrons busy networking with people known and unknown.

E-mail : maswood@hotmail.com