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Berlin, Ocean Pines News Worcester County Bayside Gazette Logo Berlin, Ocean Pines News Worcester County Bayside Gazette


Internet full of villains out to do you harm

The computer on which this opinion is being written was attacked eight times last month by malicious emails that got through its first line of anti-virus defense. They were discovered by followup scans and were destroyed before they could be opened.

In the past 12 months, this computer’s security programs caught 87 malicious emails and deleted them, while anti-virus logs show that hundreds of attempts have been made since 2019 to deposit malware and other harmful code in the computer’s operating system.  Thankfully, they did not succeed through a combination of a good anti-virus program, dumb luck and operator paranoia.

These attacks on this single device should give readers an idea of what they and their workplaces are up against in the internet universe and that doesn’t count any of the too-good-to-be-true scams that appear in the inbox every day.

As Atlantic General Hospital suffers through its second week of system lockdown because of a ransomware attack, it’s evident that even organizations with topnotch online security protocols are susceptible to tricks and workaround methods of entering computer systems without detection.

Even then, as if you weren’t worried enough already, it turns out that the company that produced the security suite this computer had been using was outed three years ago for secretly selling its subscribers’ browsing information to a third party. That practice was stopped, they say, but still …

Feeling paranoid yet? You should be when it comes to your computer and email.

Criminals, con artists and just plain nasty people really are out to get you and the only way to stop them is to be extra vigilant and to protect yourself with a reputable anti-virus program. Add a large helping of user skepticism for good measure.

It’s true that internet is a wonderful thing, but it’s also a jungle — full of marvels to be seen and enjoyed safely, as long as you remember there are things in the jungle that will eat you.