Fw: FWD: FW: Was that email really from your friend?

FW: Fw: FWD: Do you really know who sent it?

WikiLeaks has opened The Spy Files: a warehouse full of catalogues, price lists, manuals, brochures, presentations and other stuff about the equipment that the spooks use against the rest of the world — and sometimes sell to bad guys in their good books.

Should that matter to you? It might. Do you get FW: Fw: FWD: messages in your email? About politics, or religion, or sex, or jokes? Do you blog, Tweet, or share messages or articles in Internet forums, or on Facebook, through your mobile phone, or by SMS or by forwarding emails.

The Internet requires blind faith: that the email actually did come from your friend whose name is name is on it and not from some freak who slipped in something, even if it does no real damage to your computer. Or if something goes out in your name that you didn’t send. A virus? Or sabotage?

You’ll never know unless you’re a security professional.

» 6 things to know about WikiLeaks Spy Files

» The new cyber-industrial complex spying on us
WikiLeaks’ Spy Files reveal the frightening scale and ambition of the industry now devoted to surveillance of all our daily lives.

We live digital lives now, flitting from Facebook to YouTube, checking our iPhones and BlackBerries, and chatting with our loved ones on Skype. Very few of us worry too much about tweeting our personal opinions on politics or chatting with a new social network “friend” on the other side of the world, whom we barely know and often forget in a matter of a few hours or days.

Yet all these interactions have become fodder for a new industry that secretly vacuums up the data and preserves it forever on high-end servers that hold many petabytes (a million gigabytes) of information. This industry offers new tools to search that data and reconstruct our past, and even our real-time movements via our mobile phones, in a way that could well come back to haunt us
The new cyber-industrial complex