Research 2.0

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Virtual STDs

A recent BBC article brings to light some of the more covert and malicious dangers of social networking and the YouTube phenomenon. The increasing popularity of video sharing destinations on the Internet have provided crackers (as an ex-software engineer, I refuse to use the word "hacker" to denote black-hat activities) and unscrupulous marketers the opportunity to proliferate malicious video codecs that install ad-ware and other viruses and trojans, often without providing any of the actual expected functionality.

This highlights the underbelly of Metcalfe's law, which states that the value (danger?) of a network is proportional to the square of the number of users of the system (n2).

So remember, when watching an online video passed on to you from a friend, you have now videoed with everyone that they have ever videoed with. Erstwhile online Johns had best be on their guard.