The Internet may sometimes seem like a digital manifestation of Earth's 14-year-olds, but it's not all cat pictures and Kim Kardashian's ass. There's a war going on, people, and it is waged worldwide 24/7.
Internet security firm Norse Corp., which tracks threat intelligence for big corporations and government agencies, has provided a glimpse into the ongoing cyber conflict that rages all around us. Through an interactive, real-time map, the California-based company presents a web of attacks across the globe as multi-colored beams shooting from computer to computer—all the while listing the origins and types of attacks, as well as their targets and attackers.
During the time of this writing, from 3:15-3:45 p.m. on July 20, the United States suffered 2,108 attacks, with the majority—1,019—originating in China.
The Norse map, as chilling as it is in its constancy, represents only a fraction of the attacks carried out every second of every day. The company uses so-called "honey pots"—sensors made to look like computers and other web-enabled devices—to lure attackers and log their locations and IP addresses. In other words, the attacks shown on the map are only occurring on Norse's own system. Even that, according to a Newsweek profile of the company, is less than 1 percent of the data Norse receives "at any given time."
While it's hypnotic to watch—and the slick interface has a spy-tech feel—the map is intended to show that the Internet isn't the kind of place you'd want to be walking around in at night (and it can't hurt Norse's marketing efforts to scare the digital bejeesus out of prospective clients). Still, letting the map run on your desktop for a while will probably make you want to change your passwords.