I. Warming up
1. Do you often encounter the problem of computer viruses? How can you keep away from them?
2. Can you recall any of recently released viruses? What damage can they cause to your computer?
3. Are your passwords secure enough? Do you take the process of choosing a password seriously?
4. What are the common tips on making your password safe?
5. Have you ever had a computer security threat?
6. Has anyone ever hacked into your computer system?
7. Have can you protect your personal data from being stolen?
Read the text and consider the questions below.
Most Destructive Computer Viruses
The most destructive computer viruses are programs that harm the smooth functioning of a computer machine and make it handicapped. Here’s a look at the most powerful computer viruses that shook the world ...
Computer viruses are harmful programs created by anti-social elements (hackers) which can self duplicate itself in the computer system to harm its smooth functioning. Computer viruses are not only a big cause of worry for casual computer users but they have also created problems for governments, hospitals, schools and huge organizations by destroying their systems. Computer viruses spread faster than a cold virus thanks to the Internet which connects almost every computer in the world through its amazing technology. In today’s age it would really be impossible to function without a computer even for a single day, imagine the state of multi-billion dollar organizations who depend entirely on computers for their smooth functioning. Almost every computer virus originated is capable enough for major destruction, here are the names of some of the most destructive computer viruses that have made history.
Most Deadliest Computer Viruses
The most destructive computer viruses have caused damage worth billions of dollars, some have wiped off top secret documents from hard disks which could never be recovered again and most of them have affected the market by shutting down businesses for hours. Computer viruses are nothing but an online threat distributed through the Internet by hackers who like creating havoc in today’s corporate world. Here are the viruses which have become immortal in the world of computers due to the amount of destruction caused by them.
This virus came to the fore in the year 2006 and the public began speculating about it when it was sent to millions of computers in the form of an email saying, “230 dead as storm batters Europe”. Different companies called this virus by different names. Basically Storm Worm is a Trojan horse program which makes computers into zombies or bots. As the machines become infected, they can be controlled by the person who actually sent this worm. This virus is widespread, it is not very difficult to detect. Updating the computer anti-virus system is probably the best way to keep Storm Worm away.
ILOVEYOU aka Love Letter Virus
The ILOVEYOU virus is still known as the most dangerous virus ever written by a hacker. It is still regarded the most deadliest computer virus of all time which caused companies a loss of more than $10 billion. The virus expanded by spreading itself through email. Once the user opened the email, the virus attached itself to the memory and infected all important files and folders. Once in the computer the virus tries to reach other users by scanning all the addresses in the Microsoft Outlook List of the current user. The virus was originally written by a Filipino programmer who was still pursuing his college education at that time. This virus spread through the entire world in just 24 hours and affected system of multinational companies and the Pentagon resulting in loses worth billions of dollars.
Leap-A gathered a lot of press attention because it is one of those few viruses which have been successful in corrupting MAC systems. Yes, Apple is known to make software and hardware systems which are resistant to viruses, the company protects their systems by sending regular updates to their users. MAC computers are protected from virus attacks with the help of a concept called Security through Obscurity. However, due to the recent popularity of MAC system, in 2006 a hacker created the Leap-A virus which uses the iChat messaging system to travel through various vulnerable MAC computers.
Another destructive virus which made worldwide headlines, Melissa virus was a type of mass-mailing malware which affected more than 20% of computers worldwide. Computers who worked on Microsoft, Intel were the worst sufferers and companies who used Microsoft Outlook for their emails also incurred heavy losses. The Melissa virus traveled through email with an MS Word attachment and when users opened it, the virus immediately mailed itself to the first 50 people in the Outlook list.
CIH aka Chernobyl Virus
Not only the name but the virus itself was so destructive that its release made international headlines all around the world. CIH was the most dreaded computer virus because it had the ability to remain undetected in a computer’s memory for a very long time. Once in the system, it used to hamper every program that was run. The virus first debuted in 1998 and affected various Windows systems of 95 and 98. This virus was also equipped with a trigger date and once the date was reached, the virus overwrote the files on the hard drive and destroyed it original contents.
Code Red was a computer worm which debuted in the world of computers in the year 2001. It specifically attacked computers running the Microsoft’s IIS web server. It suppressed the Windows system by acting as a buffer overflow and sent huge amounts of data to the computer so that it is forced to shut down.
Even though technology today is highly advanced and secure, systems and networks keep getting infected again and again. This is because people don’t spend enough money on a good anti-virus software and most of them are too lazy to update their anti-virus software after regular intervals.
1. How do computer viruses function?
2. Do only casual computer users suffer from viruses?
3. List the problems that a virus can cause.
Read the text and consider the questions below.
Tips on How to Create a Secure Password
By M. Belvalkar
Be it for your mail, for your social networking website account, or for you company user account – a password is something we guard with our lives! Here are some tips on how to create a secure password – and keep nosy people out of your life!
You must definitely have come across at least one person in your life who wants to know everything about everybody – who is dating who, who broke up with who, who got promoted, who is going to be sacked, and who is getting a divorce. Such people are all over the world, and sooner or later one comes across them and has to face them. Worse is the case when such people are your superiors! Though at times we wish our whole life could have a password, we know that is not possible. However what we can do is create an absolutely unique and secure password for things that CAN be protected with passwords – such as your office user accounts, special files on your computer, your mailing account, your Facebook account and scores of other things...
How to Create a Secure Password
1. Be Original
Your password is something that has to be absolutely original. Try to come up with something new altogether. DO NOT pick ideas from your friends, or from novels, books or movies and do not choose any of the commonly used passwords. I once had a friend who, inspired by Dan Brown’s The Da Vinci Code, used the Fibonacci number as a password for one of his mail accounts – I do not even want to attempt to explain the chaos and mayhem that followed! Your password has to be something that cannot be guessed easily, that cannot be deciphered even by the most clever people!
2. Be Creative
Never follow a set pattern or trend while creating different passwords for different accounts – otherwise someone who cracks one of the passwords (and thence the trend), will be able to crack them all! Always experiment with different types of passwords – one password could be only numbers, another could be only alphabets, another could be mixed characters, and you could even go totally random on one of the passwords! (Only make sure you don’t make it too random for you to remember it yourself!)
3. Be Discrete
Absolutely DO NOT share your password with anyone; not your best friend, not your companion, not your parents, NO ONE! DO NOT write down your passwords anywhere; and if you absolutely have to, NEVER write them down in the same diary/book or keep them all together in the same place! If someone comes to you for suggestions to create a new password, don’t give them your own idea/the idea you used to create your own password! They may be just bluffing, wanting to get you talking so they can pick up clues about what your password could be! Be discrete, and just keep them guessing!
Try to use words from different languages in your password; that way no one can really guess what the word could be! Also do not just stick to one word from one language – let your password be a mix of words or phrases from different languages. The more obscure/weird your password, the more secure it is! Again here, go for a language that is less “popular” – DO NOT go for Spanish, French, German, Russian words. And DO NOT go for common phrases like “I Love You”, “Have A Good Day”, “Goodbye” and the like.
5. Change is the Only Constant
Change is the only constant in life – so keep ‘em changing! NEVER stick to a single password for a single account. Keep changing your password regularly, but do not follow a pattern of change either! For example, do not change all your passwords on a set date of the month, in a set pattern. Also when I say change, it means “change” and NOT “exchange”! Never switch between passwords of different accounts.
Remember three important ‘S’s while creating a password – Strong, Safe, and Smart! Never let your password be something personally associated with you, the name of your first crush, your first pet, the last company you worked for, your favorite vacation spot, your favorite color. Try to make your password as complex as you can – but not so complex that you can’t remember it yourself! Go cryptic!
1. What do people typically protect with passwords?
2. All your passwords should be chosen according to the same principle, shouldn’t they?
3. Which of the given tips do you find the most useful one? Which was the most surprising one?
Read the text and consider the questions below.
Tips to Prevent Phishing Attacks
By R. Uno
The World Wide Web is home to many threats and the most sneaky of all Internet attacks is phishing. This nefarious online theft mechanism can rob your money, personal information and even your identity. Read on to learn steps on how to evade and prevent phishing from attacking your online persona .
Remember when your parents would warn you about talking to strangers, telling them where you live and taking things from them? Well, the Internet is another “stranger” filled place, with hidden threats lurking around each site’s corner. Along with the obvious bad guys like viruses and malware, a sneakier threat is phishing attacks, which are likely to rob you blind and take your identity too.
What is phishing exactly? Without all the technical lingo, a nefarious site or person (“phisher”) pretends to be a legitimate site to steal your personal information or financial records. So you think you are logging into your online bank account but you are actually logging into a very craftily disguised site, that stores your login info to access your account. The term “phishing” is a word play on “fishing”, where a fisherman baits his hook, fools the fish into thinking it is food and reels it in. Such tactics are a serious threat to online safety and individual users security. Below are some tips to prevent phishing from stealing your information.
10 Tips to Prevent Phishing Attacks
Read emails and messages carefully. Instinctively one’s first tendency is to “click, open, delete”, don’t follow such instincts. Go through the email completely. Look for some tell-tale phishing signs such as:
· Spelling mistakes and grammatical errors in the email’s text
· Your name isn’t present anywhere but instead a general name is given. (“Dear satellite subscriber”, instead of your full name heading the email)
· Subtle threats to follow the email’s instructions (“your account will be terminated if you fail to follow the procedure”)
· Unknown senders or companies you have never heard of
· Impossibly unrealistic deals (“a wealthy millionaire died and decided to leave you, Mr. Abc, all his money”)
✓ Verify the authenticity of the email sender. If an organization like a bank or company is trying to contact you, whether known or unknown, you should contact that organization personally and verify that they have sent you the mail. Phishing sites are like chameleons, they do their best to simulate or imitate legitimate sites, to look authentic. Do not use any phone numbers provided in the email. Remember that most legitimate sites and financial services will never deal with sensitive issues in emails.
✓ Do not click on links in your email at first. Hover the mouse icon over the link and see what address appears in your browser screen. The text of the link can say one thing but the actual address could be someone’s private computer or fake website. For e.g.: the link could be: http://www.xyx.com but on hovering, the text might read: http://188.8.131.52/fileen.htm or http://184.108.40.206/collect.exe. Do not copy the URL or link and paste it in your browser’s address bar. To truly test its authenticity, open a new window and type in the official site address of the organization or company. Phishing sites will use legitimate looking links to fool you into clicking and then take you somewhere else entirely. Do not click on links in pop-up windows at all.
✓ Avoid sending private information like your name, account details, passwords – any sensitive information that is unique to your online identity, through emails. Your email account or the recipient’s account could get hacked and your information exposed.
✓ Do not enter any information in pop-up windows. With downloads and attachments, be vigilant. Only open or download email attachments from known senders but make sure you scan the attachment prior to download, using your anti-virus software.
✓ Check any of your online or financial accounts and transaction statements for any suspicious activity or operations. For example, if there has been a deduction from your bank account which you have no knowledge of or a “password successfully changed” alert appears on your phone, contact the respective department of the company involved and assert that you have not performed said changes. Such checking of accounts should be done at least once a month.
✓ Your computer is your castle, so line its defenses with spam filters, anti-spyware programs and a decent firewall. Look for anti-virus programs, with phishing filtering. Download the latest security updates and keep your computer up-to-date, so that it can handle the latest threats as they come.
✓ If you are carrying out sensitive data transactions like online shopping or money transfers, make sure you are using a secure connection to a secure site. So look for “https://” in your address bar, before the site’s address. Another sign is in the bottom right-hand side of the web browser. A small chain or yellow lock icon indicates a secure connection. Sometimes such icons can be “faked”, so check the URL of the site as well. Clicking on the lock icon should display the site’s security certificate. If the site name and the name of the site on the certificate do not match, leave the site immediately.
✓ With phishing being such a silent yet deadly web menace, web browsers are also stepping up their security mechanisms. So install a tool-bar or phishing filter utility on your browser to warn you from navigating to phishing sites. Turn on your browser’s security mechanisms and alert messages. Updating your browser will also keep such security features informed of the latest threats.
✓ If you suspect a site of being “phishy” or you have been “phished”, then your silence will just allow the guilty party to scam someone else. Some web browsers allow you to report suspected sites or mark them as unsafe. You can even inform the legitimate site being impersonated of the phishing site. The Federal Trade Commission deals with phishing scams and sites dealing with such attacks, visit their site to complain of such sites and if you are a victim, then informing the FTC can help prevent the possible theft of your identity.
Don’t fall for the “hook”, be the smart fish that got away by following the right anti-phishing tips. It is web hooligans like phishers and hackers, that give the Internet a bad name, so surf smart and access secure information smartly.
1. What is phishing?
2. Do you agree that phishing is the most sneaky of all Internet attacks?
3. In what way is “phishing” similar to “fishing”?
III. Focus on the language
1. Give definition of the following words. If necessary, use a dictionary.
Worm, Trojan horse, zombie, bot, (mass-mailing) malware, spyware, adware, browser hijacker, trigger date, buffer overflow.
2. Do the following expressions describe the effects of a virus attack or a hacker’s/phisher’s attack?
To harm the smooth functioning, to cause damage worth billions of dollars, to shut down businesses for hours, to make computers into zombies, to affect system of multinational companies, to steal your personal information or financial records, to corrupt systems, to incur heavy losses, to hamper every program, to destroy the original contents.
IV. Problem solving
1. Draw a chart consisting of two columns: in the first column itemize the deadliest computer viruses, in the second – give their brief description.
2. Find additional information about one of the deadliest viruses and make a presentation in the form of a speech at a conference.
3. Work out five recommendations of “smart surfing”.
4. Agree or disagree: You shouldn’t create too complicated passwords and change them too often, because you can get confused yourself.
5. Role play the situation: You are a system administrator in a company. Your boss has asked you to organize and conduct a seminar on computer security for the company’s employees. Explain to them the tell-tale signs of hacking, phishing, virus spreading, zombification etc. and give recommendations on how to avoid these problems.
You may refer to the following security measures.
Firewalls, antivirus software, antispyware, authentication, password, encryption etc.
6. Role play a conversation between two friends, where one has faced problems with personal data security and the other gives useful tips. Think over the recommendations you are going to give, e.g.:
Your password should consist of at least 6 characters.
Your password should be a mixture of letters and numbers .
7. Role play the situation: You are participating in a panel discussion dedicated to the issue of Network security. Your task is to work out the most effective solutions.
V. Useful tips for your presentations
To prepare and conduct debates successfully, consider the following tips:
Rules of Debate
(condensed from Competitive Debate: Rules and Techniques,
by George McCoy Musgrave. New York: H.W. Wilson, 1957)
1. There are two teams, each consisting of two or three speakers.
2. Each team has two or three constructive speeches, and two to three rebuttal speeches. The affirmative gives the first constructive speech, and the rebuttals alternate: negative, affirmative, negative, affirmative. The affirmative has both the first and last speeches of the debate.
3. When worded as a proposition of policy, the topic requires the affirmative to support some specified action by some particular individual or group. The affirmative has the right to make any reasonable definition of each of the terms of the proposition. If the negative challenges the reasonableness of a definition by the affirmative, the judge must accept the definition of the team that shows better grounds for its interpretation of the term.
4. The affirmative must advocate everything required by the topic itself. No revision of position of a team is permitted during the debate.
5. He who asserts must prove. In order to establish an assertion, the team must support it with enough evidence and logic to convince an intelligent but previously uninformed person that it is more reasonable to believe the assertion than to disbelieve it. Facts must be accurate. Visual materials are permissible, and once introduced, they become available for the opponents’ use if desired.
6. In the questioning period, the questioner may ask any fair, clear question that has a direct bearing on the debate. The questioner may use the period to build up any part of his own case, to tear down any part of his opposition's case, or to ascertain facts, such as the opposition’s position on a certain issue, that can be used later in the debate. The questioner must confine himself to questions and not make statements, comments, or ask rhetorical questions.
7. Each speaker is questioned as soon as he concludes his constructive speech. The witness must answer the questions without consulting his colleagues.
8. No new constructive arguments may be introduced in the rebuttal period. The affirmative must, if possible, reply to the major negative arguments before the last rebuttal.
9. The judge must base his decision entirely on the material presented, without regard for other material which he may happen to possess.
10. Any gains made outside of the established procedure are disallowed.
Smith’s Rules for Debates
Choose a definitive formulation of the thesis you are proposing, and communicate this formulation to your opponents at least several days beforehand. (Proponents and opponents should be clear about the thesis that is being debated.)
State this formulation of the thesis at the beginning and end of your presentation, and several times in the middle. (The audience should be clear about the thesis that is being defended or attacked.)
Make it clear what the theoretical background of your argument is. (E.g., in ethics: utilitarianism, Kantian ethics, etc.)
Attempt to trap your opponent, by anticipating his arguments beforehand and showing what is wrong with them.
Do not be afraid to use visual aids (blackboard, handouts, overhead projector) to make your point.
For Proponents and Opponents
Include a conclusion in which you demonstrate how you have established or refuted the thesis.
Avoid lengthy and repetitive presentations of facts or stories. Avoid mouthing a familiar party-line. Concentrate on arguments and on thinking through to basic presuppositions.
Use notes. If you attempt to write out every word of your presentation beforehand it will sound wooden.
Speak loudly and clearly, and address your remarks to the audience.
Speak confidently; always sound as if you believe absolutely in what you are saying, always maintain a consistent front.
Always prepare more notes than you think you will need. If you think you have said enough, move directly to your conclusion. Do not leave the audience with the impression that you have not said enough.
Leave your personal views and your personal experiences out of account; what is important is exclusively the quality of your arguments.
Never concede that you agree with the other side or suggest compromise positions. Preserve a clear opposition between the views of proponents and opponents throughout.
Use radical and imaginative gambits to keep the attention and sympathy of your audience. For example: pretend to agree with almost everything the opposing side says, but then reveal how what your opponents say implies that they are in fact quite wrong. Or use the method of reductio ad absurdum (i.e. show that, if the opposing side were correct, then this would have absurd consequences).
Do not use ad hominem arguments. Even perverts and criminals, even deconstructionists, can have good arguments. The qualities of the person presenting an argument are irrelevant to the quality of the argument he presents.
VI. Working on the project
Split in two teams and discuss the following issue: Users themselves are to blame for their computers’ being infected by viruses. One of the teams supports the statement, the other opposes it. Follow the useful tips above.