The idea for this post started with an email from a friend asking me if I had ever been an attorney and this link, http://abovethelaw.com/2013/02/inside-straight-assuming-that-people-are-idiots/. That’s two strikes against it right there, I dislike attorneys and I don’t like blind links. What swayed me to read this was the relationship I have with my friend, I trust him to know what I like and not to waste my time.

If you haven’t already, please go read the post. I’ll wait right here for you…

 zombies_1

Welcome back. You took a little longer than I expected so I added a few more zombies to my picture. I’ll explain how it ties in later.

I may have to revise my opinion on attorneys, this man is absolutely right. You can’t start out with the belief that a person is competent and has your best interests at heart. Trust is something that should be earned.

I could add a few of my own observations supporting his view but I believe he’s done an excellent job of covering the subject and that’s not quite what I want to cover today. If you’ve read this far you’re showing some amount of trust in me, sooner or later I will say something interesting, funny or actually get to the point.

Actually you’ve already shown an amazing amount of trust in me if you followed the link I provided at the start of this post. I hope you already know there’s people out there waiting for you to follow the wrong link, or click the wrong icon on an email someone sent you.

I’m always amazed by the people that seem so smart and yet are so helpless when it comes to exercising a little caution in opening an email or clicking on a link. Yes, you have a firewall, a virus checker and who knows what else protecting your computer. The problem is all those programs are helpless when you decide you just have to open that file with information on how to collect your winnings, on that lottery ticket, that you never bought.

I can’t count the number of conversations I’ve had with people telling me they don’t worry about such things. After all, they don’t do on-line banking, they don’t have anything secret on their computer. They only use their computer to browse the web, play games and exchange email.

There’s a reason I always delete their emails without reading them. I don’t trust them. I might trust the people but I can’t afford to trust anything that comes from their computer. I do on-line banking, I do on-line shopping. I like having a bank balance above zero and a credit card that isn’t maxed out. I’m fairly sure that whatever is residing on their computer has other ideas for my financial stability.

Until recently I didn’t care what these people did. It’s fairly easy to delete their emails. This week I started seeing for myself how those machines were used when they started trying to log into my Opinionbypen account. When a computer is taken over by a virus or trojan, it’s often called a zombie. I’m not sure of the exact reasons but it certainly fits.

Each turned computer then tries to infect all the computers it interacts with. Meanwhile you have a zombie master giving instructions to all these zombies. Want to do a denial of service attack? Just tell all the zombied computers to start doing web requests at the same time. With enough zombies it’s easy.

Want to break into a website and use it’s bandwidth for more spamming and DoS attacks?  Just give the zombies a dictionary, point them at a website and say go. The infinite monkeys theory says that sooner or later they will be successful and it goes a lot faster when we use weak passwords.

This week the zombies have been particularly aggressive with WordPress sites. I would not be surprised if the log-in attempts on my site numbered in the 10’s of thousands this week. It’s nothing personal, it never is with zombies, but if they can infect my site, they will exploit the level of trust you have with me and attempt to infect you.

Please exercise some caution when you open that email or go visit a new site. Invest in a good virus checker and firewall. It’s nothing personal but I really don’t want to become a zombie.

 

© Copyright 2013 Byron Seastrunk, All rights Reserved. Written For: Opinion by pen