Protecting Yourself from Computer Ransomware

This article originally featured in a local magazine. I thought I might as well stick it up here…I’ve been working in computer security for many years and I thought it might be useful to share some tips about staying safe online. There are many and varied threats – even Mac users are having to be more careful these days (more later) – and an article of this size cannot hope to address everything. So I’m going to look at just one problem – but it’s probably one of the biggest: “ransomware”. This is “malware” (malicious software) that holds you to ransom, typically by encrypting your precious files and demanding you pay to get them back. Continue reading “Protecting Yourself from Computer Ransomware”

Unravelling the Web – Part 2

In part one we saw that just as a letter moves through the postal system (or imagine successive rounds of Six Degrees of Separation) your message to my website moves one router at a time, getting ever closer to its destination. It’s now hit a router that recognises the IP address as “local”. Under our postal analogy, the letter has reached a delivery office. Let’s continue with the postal analogy to understand what happens next. Continue reading “Unravelling the Web – Part 2”

Unravelling the Web – Part 1

The internet is an amazing technology that most of us use every day but relatively few understand. There are plenty of guides out there on the internet so how is this one different? Well, I believe that if you can follow the process of how a letter in the post gets from A to B then you can understand how the internet works. By using the postal system as an analogy, I hope to make the machinery of the internet accessible to a wider audience. Continue reading “Unravelling the Web – Part 1”

Stuxnet – stranger than fiction

The world of computer hacking throws up some great stories. This article picks up on some interesting aspects of Stuxnet, the name given to a particular piece of malicious software (shortened to “malware”) first revealed publicly in 2010. It’s something of an old story now but I’ve chosen to write about it for three reasons. First, it made people sit up and take notice of what a digital weapon could achieve. Second, enough time has passed for conjecture and rumour to be replaced with statements supported by evidence. Even if that evidence is circumstantial – hell, even if it leads to the wrong conclusion (perhaps by deliberate false trails) – it still makes for a great story, which is the third reason. Continue reading “Stuxnet – stranger than fiction”