The malware problem
The problem of malicious software is the computing world’s equivalent of global warming — except that the timescales are much shorter. The most effective way of doing something about it quickly is to educate computer users so that they become less vulnerable — which is why my colleagues and I have been beavering away on an online course aimed at a non-specialist audience. One of our problems we had was communicating to people how serious the problem is. Here’s a nice opinion piece by Martin Kelly on “The Polluted Internet” which does the job nicely. Here’s a sample:
“If you live in a major metropolitan city where high bandwidth connections are as common as your plain old telephone service, take a look at your firewall and IDS logs. It’s not exciting at all, but you should do it. Compare the results with what you saw even just six months ago. Unwanted packets from worms and trojans are now hitting your network every second. New viruses, old viruses, mutated viruses, you name it. Big worms, fast worms, and worms that have been alive for years, they all reach my firewall and are silently stopped. Nothing new.
The only thing new about this is the magnitude of the problem.
Stare into the light
If you have a cable or DSL modem at home, pause and reflect for a minute as you look into the light. Let me explain.
Take a few short moments to watch the receive light on your modem or unfettered ethernet connection. Here in high bandwidth Canada, that flashing light now flashes almost solid. It’s almost unbelievable. It’s almost all malicious traffic.”