The Internet provides a wide variety of opportunities for communication and development, but unfortunately it also has its dark side.
Crackers, or black-hat hackers, are computer criminals who use technology to perform a variety of crimes: virus propagation, fraud, intellectual property theft, etc.
Internet-based crimes include scam, email fraud to obtain money or valuables, and phishing, bank fraud, to get banking information such as passwords of Internet bank accounts or credit card details. Both crimes use emails or websites that look like those of real organizations.
Due to its anonymity, the Internet also provides the right environment for cyberstalking, online harassment or abuse, mainly in chat rooms or newsgroups.
Piracy, the illegal copying and distribution of copyrighted software, information, music and video files, is widespread.
But by far the most common type of crime involves malware.
Malware: viruses, worms, trojans and spyware
Malware (malicious software) is software created to damage or alter the computer data or its operations. These are the main types.
· Viruses are programs that spread by attaching themselves to executable files or documents. When the infected program is run, the virus propagates to other files or programs on the computer. Some viruses are designed to work at a particular time or on a specific dare, e.g. on Friday 13th. An email virus spreads by sending a copy of itself to everyone in an email address book.
· Worms are self-copying programs that have the capacity to move from one computer to another without human help, by exploiting security flaws in computer networks. Worms are self-contained and don't need to be attached to a document or program the way viruses do.
· Trojan horses are malicious programs disguised as innocent-looking files or embedded within legitimate software. Once they are activated, they may affect the computer in a variety of ways: some are just annoying, others are more ominous, creating a backdoor to the computer which can be used to collect stored data. They don't copy themselves or reproduce by infecting other files.
· Spyware, software designed to collect information from computers for commercial or criminal purposes, is another example of malicious software. It usually comes hidden in fake freeware or shareware applications downloadable from the Internet.
· Don't open email attachments from unknown people; always take note of the file extension.
· Run and update antivirus programs, e.g. virus scanners.
· Install a firewall, a program designed to prevent spyware from gaining access to the internal network.
· Make backup copies of your files regularly.
· Don't accept files from high-risk sources.
· Use a digital certificate, an electronic way of proving your identity, when you are doing business on the Internet. Avoid giving credit card numbers.
· Don't believe everything you read on the Net. Have a suspicious attitude toward its contents.
1. WHY TELECOMMUNICATIONS IS IMPORTANT
Nowadays, many organizations can not survive without interconnected networks of computers to service the information processing and communications needs of their end users.
End users need to communicate electronically to succeed in today's global information society. Managers, end users, and their organizations need to electronically exchange data and information with other end users, customers, suppliers, and other organizations. Only through the use of telecommunications they can perform their work activities, manage organizational resources, and compete successfully in to-days fast-changing global economy. As a managerial end user, you will thus be expected to make or participate in decisions regarding a great variety of telecommunications options.
Telecommunications is the sending of information in any form (e.g., voice, data, text, and images) from one place to another using electronic or light-emitting media. Data communications is a more specific term that describes the transmitting and receiving of data over communication links between one or more computer systems and a variety of input/output terminals. The terms teleprocessing, telematics, and telephony may also be used since they reflect the integration of computer-based information processing with telecommunications and telephone technologies. However, all forms of telecommunications now rely heavily on computers and computerized devices. For this reason, the broader term telecommunications can be used as a synonym for data communications activities.
Telecommunications networks provide invaluable capabilities to an organization and its end users. For example, some networks enable work groups to communicate electronically and share hardware, software, and data resources. Other networks let a company process sales transactions immediately from many remote locations, exchange business documents electronically with its customers and suppliers, or remotely monitor and control production processes. Telecommunications networks can also interconnect the computer systems of a business so their computing power can be shared by end users throughout an enterprise. And, of course, telecommunications networks enhance collaboration and communication among individuals both inside and outside an organization.
Figure 1 emphasizes the many possible applications of telecommunications. It groups a large number of telecommunications applications into the major categories of electronic communications systems, electronic meeting systems, and business process systems. These applications can be supported by several major types of telecommunications architectures.