Thursday, March 13, 2008

Phishy Fishing

A story just broke that the makers of the G-Archiver software are unethical, and in my view, represents all that is wrong about the misuse of technology. According to this story, reported in website, and picked up by Zdnet, using the G-Archiver software, which purportedly backs up Gmail e-mail onto one's computers, one's Gmail account and password are silently sent to the Gmail e-mail account of one John Terry (  John has been identified as the rogue programmer employed by G-Archiver. It has has reacted to this news by pulling the code from its website and replacing it with a new one - sans the rogue codes. This is all well and good, but who would want to trust G-Archiver anymore when its control process is so lax as to allow rogue codes to be inserted into its commercial products. If it can happen once, it can happen again. Probably the safest thing to do is to stay away from this software and its makers.

This is shocking and it shows once again that you can't trust anyone on the Internet. The horrifying thing is that many of us spend so much of our waking hours on the Internet. Its like going swimming in a pool of crud, and before we know it, a thousand and one germs and viruses are sticking to us, some of which we ingest willingly. The lesson to learn is not to stop swimming, but to take protective gear along with you. Some of these protective gear will cost money, like firewalls and anti-virus software, but they are essential if you spend a lot of time on the Internet. But probably the most important protective gear you should put on is a healthy doze of skepticism and paranoia (remember - "only the paranoid survive" - Andrew Grove) - and this comes free. Its up to you. Don't just sign up for anything and everything that is offered to you free of charge on the Internet. And if your curiosity gets the better of you and you just can't help signing up, use a temporary throwaway e-mail account instead of your regular e-mail. Where can you find these throwaway e-mails. Try these: 10 Minute MailMailinator, Disposable e-mail, etc. Whichever of these or any other service you sign up for, make sure you don't have to give your regular e-mail during the signup process, unless you are very sure of the service you are signing up for.

Hopefully, we can continue to surf without catching all those germs and viruses and those rougue programmers.

Image source:  Author: Clara Natoli