There's A World War Happening Online Right Now. And You Might Be A Mercenary In It.

Feeling a little meh about protecting your online life from hackers? Think you don't have much to hide? Turns out a weak password can accidentally make you a mercenary for malicious organizations and actions in real life.

That means by not taking care with your online identity, you could be accidentally shutting down websites with strong independent voices, influencing political events, or silencing opposing voices in media around the world.

First, watch this video about exactly how it works, then check out the map below to see where attacks are happening right this second.

This crazy, overwhelming graphic is the path of hackers attacking servers of sites around the world in real time.

Want to prevent yourself from being an unwitting soldier in this weird underground war? Use strong passwords or start using a password recipe (yep, that's the advice we use here at Upworthy from our own Luigi Montanez) and browse more securely by using HTTPS Everywhere, for starters.

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Billions of people rely on the Internet to discover and share ideas with the world. However, websites are vulnerable to deliberate attacks, preventing people from accessing them. One way of bringing a site offline is by overloading a website with unwanted traffic. When some one maliciously uses several computers to do this, it’s known as a distributed denial of service or DDoS attack.

DDoS attacks can be surprisingly cheap and easy to initiate and anyone, anywhere in the world can take almost any site down, no matter its size. Small independent sites are at particular risk, because their relatively small flood of traffic can take them offline, as they don’t tend to have the resources or infrastructure to defend themselves. People take advantage of this vulnerability by using DDoS attacks to influence political events and silence its opposing voices in media.

There may be small errors in this transcript.

Original by Google Ideas and Arbor Networks. Found on FlowingData by Nathan Yau. Also, FYI, we weren't paid to promote this. It's just super interesting and, you know, relevant to our lives.

Apr 10, 2014

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