The History and Mathematics of Codes and Code Breaking

Tag: hackers

The Thoughtful Production of the RadioLab Podcast

The producers of the RadioLab podcast episodes, "Darkode" and "Ceremony," implemented several elements in order to make the material more interesting and engaging.  First of all, the introductions did a good job grabbing the attention of the audience, with unique sound editing techniques.  Furthermore, the producers continued to add immersive sound effects throughout the duration of each podcast.  In the "Ceremony" episode, I really liked how they added amplified computer processor noises to imitate what it would be like to listen through the high-tech microphones that they were worried hackers might be using in the next room.  This made it clear just what these microphones were capable of and the extent that hackers sometimes go to.  I never knew such technology existed, and I would have thought it was ridiculous to worry about someone listening to the sounds your computer makes from another room.  Hearing how it is possible made me realize that sometimes being paranoid is justified.  There were also a variety of other sound effects that made the audience feel like they were part of the experience.

Another aspect that made the podcasts more interesting was that they told stories.  In the "Darkode" episode, they got a victim who was hacked using Cryptowall to give a firsthand account of what happened to her.  Her story helped make it easier to understand how Botnets work and how hackers can use them to infiltrate millions of people, encrypt their data, and make them pay ransom to get it back.  In the second half of the episode, they got one of the original creators of Darkode to explain its backstory and how it worked.  His account gave an interesting perspective on its original intended use, and how people twisted it to serve other purposes.  Personally, I found this content fascinating, and the way it was presented made it even more engaging.

Don't hack me

The first part of the RadioLab episode “Darkode” is probably the most interesting episode I’ve ever heard. Though it’s probably not very ethical of me, the story, the tone, and the voice just kept me laughing all the time. On the other hand, it does tell us something about internet privacy protecting. First of all, we should avoid visiting suspicious websites or downloading files from insecure resources. Maybe not in this case in the podcast, but many victims got infected by a virus created by hackers because they went into the websites that shouldn’t be opened. Therefore, surfing the internet in legal ways is an important step to protect yourself from hackers.

What’s more, in the episode, the woman was about to erase the computer files completely so that the virus will go away. However, there was important data in her computer that her husband needed. So my suggestion is to keep a backup file in a hard disk regularly, or back the files up on those online storing websites. Doing so can help to reduce your total dependence on your computer. Even if being infected by a virus is inevitable, you can still protect your data and have your files back. It’s also going to reduce the loss if you lost your laptops or phones.

In the end, for college students, there are many places to turn for help or learn about privacy protecting in the university. Try to find professional help when you’re under a potential hacking attack. There are many new things or websites in college life. Stop filling out too much personal information on the websites can help reduce the risk of private information being leaked out.

How far should school surveillance go?

Morris's argument appeals to the emotions of his readers starting when he describes a horrid event that we all are very familiar with: school shootings. He notes that these deadly school shootings come with a fair amount of warnings and if the correct people saw these warning signs hidden among the internet, they could have take the opportunity to prevent many campus massacres. Morris logically believes that if a university provides access to the internet, email, and high tech equipment, the university does have the power to also monitor the students' activity to some degree. The Family Education Rights and Privacy Act (Ferpa) has been one of the largest reasons that the topic of students' internet privacy has been untouched but in the wake of more school shooting Ferpa is making changes and Morris believe that schools should now take advantage of these revolutionary data mining algorithms and prevent further shootings.

I agree with Morris's overarching argument that school's have a duty to protect their students from another potentially dangerous student. However, using data mining tools that could take account of students recent Google searches, recent social media posts, and even personal information would not be the best approach for a variety of reasons. While I do argue that too much of the students privacy is being infringed upon I like to view this issue from a different perspective. If a larger university uses a data mining tool to keep track of 15,000 students for example, all the data I mentioned before is being funneled through some algorithm that is running on one or multiple school owned computer systems. This facilitation of data that the school is now in charge of is not secure. Just how 100% security is not obtainable in our society now, the personal data of thousands of students is now vulnerable. A group of hackers could target the schools data and potential steal sensitive information from large chucks of the student population. Potential the student body would be even less safe. I think that schools should use some sort of surveillance, but also balance the weight of that surveillance with securing the privacy of their students information.

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