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Cyber Bullying

I very much think that the video above captures just how distressing cyber bullying can be for children and teenagers. It is, in a way, far more difficult to cope with than other types of bullying.  A cowardly bully finds it even more easy to hide behind a computer without consequences to their actions.  Cyber bullying is not only harder to take, it’s also harder to stop.  A teacher or parent is in a worrying position if they find out a child is being cyber bullied.  They are faced with no clear-cut way of dealing with the problem,  the bullying is mostly anonymous and the culprit is harder to find and punish.

The different mediums of communication these days also makes this kind of bullying a constant presence. As the video shows, it’s not only online that kids face cyber bullying,  its phone calls and text messages too.

So, what can be done to combat this horrible kind of bullying?

Well, if you use MSN messenger or other similar services you usually see a “block” button, this prevents the person you block from being able to contact you or even see when you’re online.  Often alongside the block button there is “report abuse”.  I haven’t ever used this feature so I had to look up what it does and I couldn’t find any answers which suggests to me that it does little more than the block feature, with perhaps some added peace of mind.

The best things to do in these situations is same as with all bullying,  never try to deal with it on your own if you are the victim,  Schools often have procedures in place to find bullies, cyber or not. Keep records of everything that is said and e-mail addresses and phone numbers that is has come from where possible.

If you’re a parent, be aware.  If your child is being bullied online,  they may not react the same as they would if it was bullying at school.  Monitoring who your child is talking to is NEVER a bad idea, there are far bigger risks than bullying involved.  Speak to the school if your child is being bullied through any method.


April 22, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | 3 Comments

Virus Writers- Troublemakers or Something Far More Sinister?

The simple answer is both.  Virus writers take on many forms but when it boils down to it there are really three types of virus writers

– New computer programmers who are flexing their digital muscle.

– “Research” virus writers,  creating malware to test our systems

– Finally, and most dangerous of all, the professionals.  Writing malware at this level means it often goes undetected by anti-virus software.

Trojan viruses, for example, can be used to steal login details to web-based services that cost money.  These are often written by the first group of virus writers,  often students and young people who prefer not to pay for internet services.  This happened to AOL in 1987 when internet was more expensive to receive.  Since internet prices have fallen, so has the use of Trojan horse viruses.

From there on the world of virus writers gets far more complicated. From what I could tell,  a step up from petty internet theft is more hardcore cyber crime which involves many things such as sending out mass spam e-mails from thousands of anonymous sources.  Spam emails, as you all well know if you have ever read one are full of empty and impossible promises, usually costing a high price, or requiring your bank details.

Another type of cyber crime is that which I mentioned in my post on cyber warfare,  I have now learned that the technical name for it is “distributed network attacks” where sites are flooded with requests to the point where they are shut down and common users cannot access them.

Cyber criminals can use their talents to steal electronic currency, banking information, other confidential information. They can even use it to blackmail.

The methods are incredibly complicated and unfortunately I’m not a computer programmer and a lot of it goes over my head.

There is a fascinating website here which you should check out if your interested in all of this, which you should be,  it is after all, both fascinating and terrifying.

I am not a virus writer, and I have no desire to become one, but in those two words I think the motivation is summed up.  The world of virus writing is fascinating, and incredibly terrifying. People are naturally attracted to power, and I think that kind of talent is the modern equivalent of excellent sword skills.  It makes you threatening and admirable at the same time,  why wouldn’t you do it, if you could?

Food for thought indeed.  I look forward to your comments!

April 20, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | 4 Comments