The First Country in Cyber War is “Arming” its Computer Users

The First Country in Cyber War is “Arming” its Computer Users

A remarkable “Oh Shit” campaign has launched in Estonia, aimed at educating ordinary computer users.

Many of you probably remember Estonia survived what has been called the world’s first Cyber War last year. It was launched by Russians and made headlines around the world. Thanks to The Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT) Estonia, led by the chief security officer Hillar Aarelaid, Estonia was successful in defending itself against the so called DDoS (distributed denial of service) attacks.

A couple of weeks ago, Aarelaid’s team launched a somewhat controversial campaign in Estonia, aimed at educating the computer users in Estonia. The campaign is called “AssaPauk”, which can be translated in English as “What a hell?” or “Oh Shit”! There’s a good chance this is your first emotion after discovering that you are in some sort of a criminal “cyber mess.”

The campaign, that should guide people how to use the Internet safely, is focused on three lessons: which links are OK to click and which are not? What kind of passwords to use? And how to avoid an unpleasant identity theft.

“I am a pedophile! How about you?”

Actors telling real stories are used to get the lessons across. For example, there’s a guy who says that he was made a pedophile inadvertently. He used short easy-to-memorize password (his wife’s name) for many different Internet applications. When suddenly finding that someone had guessed the password and uploaded nasty porn images into his weblog. (Take a look at his YouTube video, the poster below is saying “I am a pedophile! How about you?”)

“I am a thief! How about you?”

Or there’s a woman claiming that she had made a thief against her will. She clicked on an unknown link and apparently a virus downloaded into her computer. So her computer was used to steal credit card data of other people. And now she has become a suspect of serious crime. (YouTube video, the poster above is saying “I am a thief! How about you?”)

Member of an international gang

Another woman received an e-mail saying that she should update her Internet banking passwords immediately or they will expire. For doing that she was asked to fill in her existing passwords and sent them to “the bank”. She ended up sending her passwords to strangers, who used her bank account for transferring stolen money. So without knowing it, she became member of a international thief gang. (YouTube video)

CERT gives many different hints to avoid such unpleasantness. Hillar Aarelaid says that the days where viruses only harmed files are over. Today criminals are infecting people’s computers to take control over them and use them for criminal purposes, while remaining undetected.

If you understand Estonian, take a look at how Estonia educates its people, by clicking here.

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