Japan Earthquake, Tsumani: An IT Wakeup Call
A fact of human nature is that people become complacent as time passes without a real disaster alert affecting an IT system. An event like the March 11 quake ostensibly should serve to wake up those who might not have been testing their systems regularly--or scare those who, in fact, have no backup systems at all in place.
Another fact of human nature is that there is always someone waiting in the wings to exploit a disaster. Within hours of the devastating earthquake and tsunami, cyber-criminals had poisoned search results based on the Japan disaster with malicious links. For example, users searching on "most recent earthquake in Japan" may encounter some malicious links to fake anti-virus software, Trend Micro researchers said March 11. Malware writers used black-hat search engine manipulation techniques to push these links to the top of the search results, according to a post on the company's Malware Blog.
There are plenty of positive responses as well. For example, all four major U.S. wireless carriers are enabling customers to send free texts to aid organizations. AT&T and Verizon are additionally offering free calling and texting to Japan.
AT&T customers can also text "redcross" to 90999 to make a $10 donation to support the Red Cross' support efforts in Japan, and through March 17, can view TV Japan, the 24-hour Japanese news channel available to U-verse TV subscribers, free of charge.
Verizon, Sprint and T-Mobile are waiving text-messaging fees for customers donating to disaster-relief organizations.
Google whipped up one of its customary crisis-response Websites to provide support information for those affected by disaster. The site includes emergency lines, sources for alarms and warnings, such as the Japan Meteorological Agency Tsunami Warnings/Advisories, a disaster bulletin board and even train information to help people evacuate. A "person finder" tool helps people look for family and friends separated by the disaster. Google Maps and YouTube videos also chart the quake's path of destruction.