Tuesday, September 28, 2010

CyberCrime: May be in Online Dictionaries but Paperbacks??

When a lot of us were mere kids or adolescents, or for that matter, even adults (oops!!), the word cyber crime did not exist in the dictionary. I am not sure if it still does in a majority of the big dictionaries. Our Enid Blytons and Agatha Christies had no inkling of it. Then for a while it was a fairy land with its esoteric witches. Now it is an irksome and awful part of our daily mundane life lived out in the virtual space. It is, in fact, now a thriving multi-billion dollar industry at the expense of the taxpayer and the exchequer. We ourselves, or some of our friends or acquaintances, have been waylaid by these highwaymen of the cyber-world. So, let us eschew all talk about the ‘whats’, ‘whos’, and ‘wheres’ of it, and cut straight to the heart of the matter taking the devil by the horns in the bullring of the courtroom, literally and figuratively.

The trick here lies in the how of the matter. Being of recent birth, the jurisprudence of cyber-crime is still nebular and evolving. As in any other like case, ‘know thine enemy’ is the dictum here as well. So, to begin with, we shall use the brief space here only to acquaint ourselves with the subject matter. It helps to know the thing in its quantity and differentiate. It would enable us to categorically identify the type of cyber-crime.

Since the spot of a cyber-crime is an intangible globally connected space, the alpha of the matter consists in sorting out the jurisdictional issues. And then, it is important to pick the right personnel for the job i.e. the task of determining who will fight the case. A successful conclusion of this sort of case calls for variegated expertise ranging the gamut from legal to technological. Only a well-organized team exerting a concerted effort can nab such clever, inconspicuous, and anonymous criminals.

To be forewarned is to be forearmed. Therefore, it is important to have at least a rudimentary knowledge of the various technological and other aspects of the matter. For instance, the people involved. Be it the criminals themselves or the victims and the investigators. Apart from the technology, it helps everyone (the criminals themselves not excepted!) to be familiar with the investigation process. The whole forensic paraphernalia, in short: the hardware, the software, and the methodology; the acquiring, the duplicating, and the recovering of the deleted files, and so on.

Even within the compass of cyber-forensics, blackberry, cell phone, ipod etc make for special cases with their own unique technological modalities. Also, the level of public knowledgability with respect to the subject leaves much to be desired for. It is imperative, therefore, that one educate oneself about what constitutes cyber-crime, so as to protect oneself better. Basic issues like network attacks and intrusions, child pornography, email and internet crimes need to be understood. We also need to appreciate the significance of our passwords and assess their susceptibility to exploitation.

And last but not the least, as the old adage goes, prevention is better than cure. It pays to inculcate a proactive approach towards cyber-usage. There are efficient and reasonable technologies a galore for early detection and security purposes. Like any other thing of utility, cyber technologies also require some tending to. 

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

As They Say - Art is Everywhere!!!

Guest Post from Art and Theater Critic Melissa Hall

My name is Melissa Hall and I'm a theater critic in the Midwest. I'll be discussing the importance of arts in our culture. Please visit my blog, Stage Write, if you'd like to read more on the theater in the Midwest. 

I remember the first time my parents took me to see a play. We saw Brigadoon at a local dinner theater and I was completely captivated. At only 8-years-old and I began a lifelong love affair with performing arts. After that first show I saw Peter PAn, The King and I, symphony performances and even an opera. 

Whenever economic times are rough, the first thing to get cut is arts programs. I don't disagree that feeding and clothing our kids is more important than taking them to the symphony, but I don't think that sports are necessarily more important and athletic teams never seem to lose their budgets. 

The arts feed our kids' souls in a completely different way. They teach them about beauty. They tell them stories through paintings, performances and music. They challenge them to think about the world and the people in it, who are experiencing life in a way that may seem foreign at first. 

Study after study has proven that music and theater force kids to use essential parts of their brains, not often stimulated in other ways. They increase academic performance across the board, in both math and english courses. Teaching kids to appreciate the arts at a young age spurs creativity and it frequently becomes a continued interest, enriching the lives through adulthood. 

When we take arts out of the equation we are denying our kids the thing that is quintessentially human, the ability to create. That create may inspire them to design buildings, invent new technologies or become an artist, but it's the act of creation that is sacred in the end.