Computer security is something of a misnomer; no computer is secure, really, just as no human is safe in Medellín, Colombia. There is, however, a large industry dedicated to limiting the spread of computer viruses, among other things.
Leave it to mankind to inadvertently create yet another field for consumer consumption and corporate exploitation (we're still talking about the computer security bit) by not being able to adhere to basic principles of human decency. That is, STAY OUT OF OTHER PEOPLE'S CRAP.
Unrelated: A Google image search for "theft" turns up roughly 80% of the above.
From the beginning, computers- and consequently the crap you can put on them- have been exploited for their goodies, not unlike that scruffy Asian kid you thought was being forced to play WoW for days on end with no pay (note: he definitely was). It should be noted that early computer viruses were pussies. As in, they displayed messages in the form of weak-ass poetry. Though, imagining the reactions of first-time computer users upon seeing an unexpected message on their processing thingamabob is exciting.
"WTF a talking computer argghhhgh!"
Additionally, since the internet as we know it didn't exist yet, viruses had to propagate via floppy disks being passed from one user to another. Possibly, there are some of you reading this article that have no thought on what a floppy disk is aside from a vague electronic innuendo. For your benefit:
Pictured: 8 floppy inches of disease-laden propagation.
In 1986 the first PC virus ominously (or humorously, depending on your good/bad alignment) named "The Brain" (Seriously? Seriously.) terrorized countless computer users with what amounted to an antimclimactic message and even the virus creators phone number. This wasn't the first computer virus, and it's far from the last. Which, from a computer virus standpoint, is a postive note. In the realm of things that get anthropomorphized, computer viruses would get straight made fun of for being soft. Of course, they would naturally evolve into something more badass (which translates into testicle-punching fury for the public) to rep' the viral hood. Something along the lines of identity theft.
In addition to stealing your bank account, computer viruses have done everything from minor things like damage or corrupt files on your harddrive to more serious misfortunes like lock out your mouse and keyboard, preventing you from quickly exiting that hideous scat porn you were busy looking up for the past hour.
It's been awhile, but you love it. Admit it.
In fact, if you, the homo sapien currently reading this article have not already encountered a computer virus consider yourself either extremely lucky or extremely Amish. In the latter case, you're also sinning right now. As of the information in this article, there are ONE MILLION VIRUSES just waiting to jump your computer in some dank, dark virtual alley. In the same article, the United States is apparently the number one contributor for malware (PS: You're welcome, World). What with nasty electronic rot and a dizzying amount of cyber crime going around, it's a wonder we don't have viruses ganging up on our computers like a nightmarish version of an Axe commercial. No, wait. We mean this scene from
Dragonball Neo Matrix Revolution.
Your computer vs. a Smithtillion viruses.
Take heart! Our computers aren't being gang raped because we have an entire industry and software that punches viruses in the face. Kinda like Keanu Reeves as Neo, but with a lot more emotion.
Early anti-virus protection. Not pictured: An enjoyable fetish.
Like agar swabbed with all the germy goodness of a medieval prostitute, computer viruses would flourish and form into a multi-headed, multi-tentacled transforming robot monster of death ready to prey on the saucer-eyed Japanese school girl that was early computers. That is, until Bernt Fix went into hyper mode and curb-stomped it to death, garnering the title of "First Dispatcher of Computer Virus" in addition to having undoubtedly one of the coolest names for a computer geek in the 80's.
After noticing Fix's incredible ability to fight off computer viruses, an unknown research company kidnapped Fix and forced him to bite countless thin-membrane covered containers in hopes that Fix's saliva would be the base for a potent anti-venom for future computer security risks.
Unfortunately, that worked out not at all, and we're stuck with the antivirus equivalent of pong.
The ultimate failure of The Fix Project left humanity minus one geek-wiz and plus a thousand ways to simultaneously protect your computer and piss you off by asking you everytime a program wants access to the internet. Though we'd like to think the process of fighting viruses inside our computers looks like something from Tron, complete with discs and lightcycles...
the harsh reality is that programs like Norton's and McAfee's operate from a much more logical (read: boring) and complex approach utilizing such things as "security architecture" or "secure cryptoprocessors" and "defense in depth." While these may sound like safety-words Otacon shouts at you on frequency 01101100.01100001.01101101.01100101 , they're actually various aspects of computer security (which will from now on be referred to as CompSy) that help keep those nasty viruses from ruining your precious harddrive or siphoning your personal crap.
Uh huh, I knew that.
Oh, the FBI runs a cyber investigation unit to prevent all manner of ill concieved cyber crimes. Also, they have these things called Cyber Action Team(s), which is one letter shy of being a perfect acronym.
One consonant away from being the best acronym ever.
The CompSy industry is, by the author's estimation, a friggin' gazillion dollar industry, and is such thanks to the million(s) of viruses infecting your computer. Reinfecting, in the case of the elderly or those too foolish to discontinue web browsing habits that netted them a dozen exotic viruses in the first place. At any rate, with all of the available products
and internet-friendly browsers
Note: Some more friendly than others.
for use, it's reasonably safe to shop online, store very personal information, and generally continue whatever the hell you were originally doing prior to reading this article. Let's face it, unless you're a celebrity or millionaire (in which case, most of us aren't either one) then you're less likely to have your shit hacked into and/or infected intentionally. Still, it can happen to anyone, and if it does, don't take it personal. Just curse the atoms that compose the frustrating excuse for a human being that created that virus.
"Dammit, Linda! That shit'll give us a viiiirus!"