Looks can be deceiving

As editor of Netopia, I am proud to introduce a new columnist: Rhoda Crocket. Many things in our world are not really what they appear to be and a big part of being an informed citizen is developing the ability to look beyond the surface. That is especially true of the internet, spam and phishing and fake aliases are all over. We may be able to see through e-mails promising lottery wins or millions of Euros in mineral bonds in a country we’ve never heard of before. We may even be able to double-check sender addresses, mouse-over links and use the safe mode on our web browsers from time to time. But real spammers don’t only con us users, but beat the system itself. By acting on random or opposite to normal users, they find the weak spots and find out how to take advantage of them. Spam is not only unwanted e-mail, today it is a wide variety of strategies to fool us ignorant web users – from search enginge optimization that tinkers with search results, to fake friends on Facebook and stolen user identities on web services. Sometimes illegal, often immoral, always ruthless but not rarely without a great sense of humour. Rhoda Crocket knows all the tricks and she will take Netopia’s readers on a wild magic carpet ride through the unknown dark underbelly of the internet as we know it through a series of columns. Enjoy!