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If It’s Smart, It’s Vulnerable

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If It’s Smart, It’s Vulnerable


15 min read
7 take-aways
Audio & text

What's inside?

A cybersecurity expert offers a guided tour of malware threats.

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  • Overview
  • Concrete Examples
  • For Beginners


Cybersecurity expert Mikko Hypponen offers a surprisingly entertaining tour through certain darker regions of the internet. He focuses on malware, relating its history from the first viruses to the modern, more dangerous exploits of online criminal gangs, spies, terrorists and rogue nations. An engaging storyteller, Hypponen describes investigating notorious malware attacks, and advises how businesses and individuals can better protect themselves online.


The internet enables new security threats to individuals, companies and nations.

Anyone who connects to the internet faces danger from malware. Criminals use this software to extort money from victims worldwide. Governments use malicious software to spy on other nations and carry out new forms of warfare and sabotage.

As more devices, appliances and infrastructure connect to the internet, malware threats will multiply.

For decades, malware has been the main tool for breaching computer security.

Malware is the umbrella term for invasive programs such as viruses, worms and trojans. Viruses first surfaced in the 1980s, spreading via shared floppy discs on computers such as the Commodore 64 and Apple II. 

Viruses didn’t become a significant problem until the advent of the IBM PC. Unlike earlier computers, the PC was “open” – other manufacturers could build compatible computers and accessories, and anyone could write programs for it.

With accessories such as modems and network cards, PC users accessed online file-sharing services such as bulletin board systems (BBSs...

About the Author

Mikko Hypponen is the chief research officer at WithSecure and the principal research adviser at F-Secure.

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