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Computers Now Tagged with Machine Guns and Tanks


We’ve just begun a new year, a year with potential for great things, a year full of promise–without the fear of “the world ending–as predicted by the Mayan calendar.” In 2013, however, we also have more powerful technology than ever before, just as previous years’ have had, yet we may have lost control of it.

According to security analysts at CNNMoney, we face a greater threat than ever before of nation-sponsored cyber-warfare, a newly emerged branch of warfare that entails hacking to perform sabotage and espionage.

Some cyber-attacks can involve infiltration of government servers and theft of information while others include hacking into critical establishments, such as banks, stock exchanges, nuclear power plants, and water purification systems, which are particularly vulnerable.

Many of the first major cyberwarfare attacks occurred last year. One of the most signaling instances took place with the discovery of the Flame virus-one of the most sophisticated worms ever created. Flame can transfer files, steal passwords, turn on the microphone to record conversations while being almost untraceable. This virus was released into the Iranian government’s computer systems in 2010 and remained there while causing massive data loss and evading more than 40 anti-virus programs before being detected in 2012.

It has been suggested the United States, Israel, or a combination of hackers from these two nations, are the ones behind this attack. In 2012, a series of US large scale cyber attacks were aimed at the Iranian government, and, in response, Iran attacked US banks and Saudi oil companies.

Cyber-warfare entails viruses that can be deleted from or can remain in a system for years. What this means is while more developed countries have more money and resources to build a strong military, they are also likely to have additional technology based institutions and, therefore, are  more vulnerable to hacks.

Often, hackers design advertisements that appear to be from the government, but by clicking on them, you allow the virus into your computer, and it can immediately take control of your data. Countless reports have been recorded of people’s files being help for ransom; that is, if they don’t send money to the hackers, their data will be deleted. One way to protect your data from this is to keep a separate backup of all your files on a separate hard drive.

While we can always do our best to prevent these kinds of assaults, one thing is for sure: the development of technology may be beginning to slip away from us, and it could lead to greater catastrophes in our future than we’ve ever experienced in our past.

Written by Nikhil Patel’14



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