Vulnerabilities on the Web #2 Essay
The rapid growth to social media has changed the way in which people communicate. No longer are adults relying on communication through the phone, or in the face to face contact, but forgoing to email, text, of instant message one another. Gone are the days where people write letters, or wait by the phone for a late night conversations. They are now waiting to message each other on social platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, and upcoming platforms such as Pinterest, and Instagram. While the thought of posting information on the web is not that new, phenomenon of having a central place in which people share photos, music, information, and laughs is new.
The problem with social networking, like most things on the internet is that it can create the path for cyber criminals and warriors to steal pertinent data that can potentially have harmful effects to the end user. Even with the increase in information made available to warn users of the potential risks, most are ignored and the increase in cybercrimes is only getting worse.
Social networks collect billions of data each month, if not each week. Facebook alone has over half a billion users around the world that share billions in data that include information on where they live, where they go to school, family information, job information, and photos. The amount of data is inconceivable to what regular websites collect and share on a yearly basis. Not only are billions of users on social networking platforms, but also they have an enormous impact on social issues around the world. The 2012 election was largely aided by the amount of young people taking to their social networking sites to discuss the debates, the candidates, and the overall election. Facebook alone has transformed the way in which businesses do business. Now thousands of major companies are found to have Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram pages that allow users to interact and discuss their business and promotions. While social networking sites have created a positive atmosphere for most users to connect and interact with friends, new and old, and share information, it also has laid way for cybercriminals. Most of the cybercriminals look to parts of the internet where users are most likely to share private and personal information over the web. This could be on e-commerce sites, through emails, unprotected networks, and social networking profiles. Cybercriminals are not limited to one individual, they will work in groups and compose cyber warfare on an entire organization of the site in order to bring down the entire platform. There have been instances in the news where entire organizations that are created in order to incite fear by hacking into secure infrastructures, websites, and other places that leak classified information to the public. Cyber-attacks have become one of the biggest domestic threats.
Cyber-attacks have increased in recent years, and have been become an effective vehicle for terrorists groups to engage in cyberespinoage that allows the terrorists organizations to hack into computer systems to steal personal and confidential information. Cyberterrorim exist to exhibit fear among the masses, according to Andress the reasons behind cyberterrorism are to gain power over others One of the ways in which cyber terrorists can gain inflict major harm is through the hacking of websites and infrastructures through their various vulnerabilities. In the case of social networking, it presents many options in which cyber criminals can easily gain information that will be in structured to harm them financially, personally, or collectively.
The use of cyber warriors can be used as both a positive and a negative option. According to Techopedia, a cyber-warrior is, “a person who engages in cyber warfare, whether for personal reasons or out of patriotic or religious belief.” Cyber warriors can be used by any country is an organization that is looking to combat or attack another computer system. Cyber warriors are trained in information security that can be trained by several government agencies or by terrorist organizations. They can range from engineers, NSA workers, government agents, or terrorist looking to infiltrate an infrastructure. Cyber warriors can work two sides of the coin, and they are likely to gain information of either side through the use of social networking. Social networking as mentioned earlier allows for billions of data to pass through the internet. The types of information include personal, sometimes confidential to the small group of friends, and potentially dangerous.
Cyber warriors can use information from top government official’s private pages for locations, keywords, hack into accounts and steal credit card information, addresses, emails, and other essential information that could be potentially dangerous. On the flipside cyber warriors that are doing good, can look to social media for clues and inclinations to criminals attempting to commit crimes, or after committing crimes by bragging to their circle of friends. Social media can be used to implicate criminals and lead to further arrest through the use of messages, friends list, and IP addresses that lead to locations.
Social network has changed the way in which people share and communicate, the oversharing of information from users around the world can lead to potential problems with cybercriminals lurking in the background. The increase of cyber-attacks has put countries on edge, and the enlisting of cyber warriors has increased as well. While cyber warriors can be used for good or bad, they can use the power of social networking to commit crimes, and prevent crimes. Through the information given by users, it can implicate criminals, and it can acquire information to do harm.
- Ackerman, Spencer. “Cyber-Attacks Eclipsing Terrorism as Gravest Domestic Threat- FBI.” The Guardian. (2013). Website. http://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/nov/14/cyber-attacks-terrorism-domestic-threat-fbi
- Adnress, Jason, Winterfield, Steve. Cyber Warfare: Techniques, Tactics and Tools for Security Practitioners. 2011. Syngress. Massachusetts.
- Statistic Brain. “Social Networking Statistics.” (2013). Website. http://www.statisticbrain.com/social-networking-statistics/
- Techopedia. “Cyber Warrior.” Techopedia. 2013. Website. http://www.techopedia.com/definition/28615/cyber-warrior