FACEBOOK—AND CYBER SAFETY—HAS COME A LONG WAY IN 11 YEARS
As you might have heard, Facebook celebrated its 11th birthday last week—and it’s come a long way since its Harvard dorm-room launch. Approaching 1.4 billion active users—or nearly 20% of the World’s population—Facebook has changed the way we work, connect, learn, interact, and share online. It may not have been the first social networking site, but it has definitely become the largest and most influential so far.
A lot has changed since the site originally known as TheFacebook was first launched—especially when it comes to cyber safety and online crime. Just as Facebook has changed in look, design, and user experience over the years, so too have the nature of the threats we face online.
Major Online Threats Then: Viruses and Spam
Back in 2004, opening an infected spam email and downloading a virus was still one of the biggest online threats digital citizens faced. Take for example the MyDoom virus, which exposed “computers running any of the latest versions of Microsoft’s Windows operating system” to a massive virus.
Still ranked as the number one most “catastrophic computer viruses” by Norton, MyDoom:
- Appeared as a bounced email, infecting a user’s computer once the email was opened.
- “Pilfered the new victim’s Outlook Address book,” sending infected emails to their contacts.
- Infected over a million computers in just days and two million before it was finished.
- Slowed Internet performance, created headaches for Internet Service Providers, and ultimately caused $38 billion in damages.
- Cyber bullying, harassment, and stalking
- Phishing scams and theft of personal information
- Identity theft and content abuse or misuse