Posts Tagged ‘internet’


The world is engaged in a continuous battle today to advance in technology, a thing if deprived of mankind would sink into the same Stone Age from which it once evolved. However, where the progress has been remarkably swift it has led to many intricate problems. How does this technology affect us? How does it make our lives better, that is, if it does at all, one wonders if its advantages really do overcome its flaws.

The proliferation of internet technologies has both advantages and disadvantages. The capabilities for information retrieval and communication are infinite but children can be exposed to illicit material, individual privacy is threatened and it is a virtual medium rather than a physical one. Where its uses can be as diverse and beneficial as the person who uses it, its delinquencies also extend to the user’s creativity. If one of use can create an online bank account then it remains just for another more accomplished user to break into it. As it goes, nothing comes without a catch and this so called technology too has strings attached to it.

Internet may have been the cause for a lot of crimes these days, but there are ways of preventing them. Antivirus software such as McAfee, Norton and AVG are easily available in the market and off the internet. However, one does not have the luxury to surf the net with that feeling of total security that the user is completely safe from any cyber-attack.

The examples are numerous when it comes to cybercrimes and hacking is done almost on a daily basis. While some regard it as a serious offense, sometimes it is coined the term “heroic by the general public such as the FreeMe program (2001) which allowed Windows Media users to strip digital-rights-management security from music and video files.

The chances of internet crimes such as ID theft and child pornography are reduced by online monitoring agencies such as the National Hi-Tech Crime Unit (NHTCU) in UK and America Online (AOL) in the United States. Where such agencies exist to protect the general public, we are also dependent upon them, a thing not many people like to be.

A new type of cyber crime, “Phishing” has become very common over the past few years. Bank customers are receiving emails which are apparently from their banks but are actually a fraud. These emails have website links which, when opened, require people to reveal personal information and bank account details. This information is then used for illegal purposes. But now, these activities are also being monitored and the NHTCU on May 5th, 2004 arrested 6 men and 6 women involved in “phishing” in Russia. Even with this surveillance, such scams continue to operate at a large scale.

The evolution in internet technology has contributed a lot to national security. Online surveillance agencies such as the National Security Agency in America decipher encrypted emails and scan them for messages which may be scam or related to terrorist activities. What makes it easy to defend a nation also makes it easier to destroy another. A hack into the defense system or the nuclear department could easily lead to a nuclear war. One is scared to think that all it needs is just a computer to access such codes.

Surveillance in the major cities of the world has become easier due to the advancement in technology. If you live inNew York, you will be photographed at least 20 times every day and if you walk throughManhattan, you will be followed by 2 security cameras and about 5 rooftop and window snipers.

Advanced home security systems have also lowered the crime rate. Home alarm systems use infrared radiation to detect the heat radiated by a person. The alarm goes of if a person crosses a detector’s path and another alarm is sounded in the police station. The police are thus able to reach the crime scene in time to make an arrest.

Along with its many advantages, technology has brought about a lot of cyber crimes which have badly affected people all around the world.

Cyber crimes have become a big problem for multinational companies. 83% ofUKbusinesses have reported internet crimes such as viruses, hacking, phishing, ID theft and theft of company data. Credit card theft has also become a major problem for credit card users these days.

Cybercrime on the rise!

Virus attacks are the most common cyber crimes for home users. In December 2002, a 22 year old hacker, Simon Vallor, admitted affecting 27,000 PCs across the globe with viruses such as “Goker”, “Admirer” and “Redesi”. These bugs gave him control over other people’s PCs and access to their personal information and email contacts.

As internet technology is advancing, many people have started buying stuff off the internet form websites such as www.priceline.com and www.eBay.com. People have taken advantage of this innovation by selling items that do not even exist. In October 2007, a 17 year old fromSouth Wales appeared in court after offering ₤45,000 worth non-existing goods for sale on “eBay”.

Halifaxis the main target for email scam. The highest percentage of phishing has been reported inHalifaxwhere bank customers are receiving emails asking them to reveal personal and bank security information. These emails are actually scam and the customers end up losing a fortune. This crime has hit retail banks including “Barclays”, “Lloyds” and “Natwest” inUSA,Australia,New ZealandandEurope.

The second stage of this crime is of acting as bank agents and asking random people to transfer money. 2000 online bank account holders inUKwere targeted by this scam and they ended up losing a total of ₤4.5 million.

Mobile phones have become a necessity these days. Everyone has one. This has increased the percentage of street crimes, mainly mobile phone snatching. InKarachi,Pakistan, every third mobile phone owner has had his phone stolen at gun point.

As technology is progressing, the quality of weapons and ammunition is improving and more lethal and disastrous weapons are invented. These weapons, if used for rioting or in civil wars, can wipe out generations of people.

Where using cameras for security like close circuit television (CCTV) is very efficient it also leads to a risk of privacy invasion. The extent to the devastation and havoc that technology can do is only limited to the human mind and in the wrong hands, one fears what would happen.

Today’s society is in technological boom. It has indeed become a necessity. Our lives are dependent on it and if deprived of, we would be once again, the savage barbarians that lived in the caves. Man continues to explore and innovate and where it reaps benefits of its creativity and curiosity it also invents more ailments that the human race could suffer from. All I can think of are the words written by J.K. Rowling in her bestseller Harry Potter, “Curiosity is not a sin but once must be cautious.”

This article would not have been possible without Wajeeh Uz Zaman Adhami, the inspiration and source behind this idea.

Advertisements