Techno Punks / Seven Deadly Digital Sins

When you enter the digital afterlife, will you find yourself in cyber-heaven or hell? Read our list and judge for yourself.

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The seven greatest digital sins are the modern counterpart of the seven deadly sins.

Just like wrath, greed, sloth, pride, lust, envy and gluttony, these acts of commission won't kill you. Most of us are guilty of several of them, in fact we're serial offenders. But while the odd act of deviancy may be forgiven, try violating all seven and you risk becoming a public nuisance and could quite possibly end up in jail.So try your best to temper your baser instincts and keep those diabolic urges where they belong: down in the digital hole.

Sin #1: App lust

Do you really expect me to pay money to download apps? Really, you made Mr. Hacker laugh.

This sin is for all of you who feel like Augustus Gloop walking past the chocolate river in Willy Wonka's Chocolate Factory, scooping up the chocolate-water in his hands until he falls in and gets stuck in a pneumatic tube (it had some narrow bandwidth).

Your golden ticket to unlocking every app that strikes your imagination is Cydia (scientific name Cydia pomonella), i.e. the apple worm, an app used by most people with jailbroken iPhones as an alternative to Apple's App Store.

Every app that requires paying a fee or every iPhone upgrade is available for free on Cydia – so why the hell would anyone open an iTunes account? And don’t fret, Android users – you've got the daemon APK, which magically transforms every fee-based app into a free faster than you can mutter "Google phone" under your breath.

Found a nice app on Google's app marketplace, and the creator dares to ask for payment? Google, the search diety, has a solution. Type into the search engine the name of the software app and add APK into the search terms and you will get a list of free app files. Ah, you already know about Cydia and APK. Of course you do, because who these days pays $0.99 to play Angry Birds?

Illustration: texting on a smartphone.
Were you to choose to pay for you app downloads, you would have several legitimate app stores to choose from.
Sorting through all the junk emails you get can take ages.
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Illustration: texting on a smartphone.Credit: Bloomberg
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Were you to choose to pay for you app downloads, you would have several legitimate app stores to choose from.Credit: Bloomberg
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Sorting through all the junk emails you get can take ages.Credit: Bloomberg

Who can make it happen? The hacker man can.

Sin #2: The insatiable appetite of Internet spammers

Perhaps the gravest of all digital sins is spamming. Spammers can be divided into three sad-sack categories. The first, and most serious, are the folks who pass along all those chain e-mails to you that are supposedly to help you gain greater insight into the world or make your day.

"You have to see this," "You have to help out this sick person," and so on. You open the e-mail from a close friend or some distant relative, only to discover that it's already gone through 19 separate forwards and reached a total of 1,365 people.

Why should you be the only sucker? Your friends should also have to see it.
The second class are those who don't understand or even know they are spreading spam, because they snoozed through the past century and feel compelled to still open every stupid little message sent their way.

Now a virus has taken complete control of their email account and is broadcasting itself across the entire galaxy at a rate of 300 emails per hour. "Hi, take a look at Cindy Bear naked."

The third type of spammer is a relatively new breed, and he lives on Facebook. Facebook spammers are your friends, or just your Facebook "friends," and they have decided they have something really important to tell you. They just really need to post it to your wall, so it will show up on their feed and all of their friends will see that they enjoyed last evening getting totally smashed with you and puking on a bench.

Not to mention those who send you messages regarding parties, events, boycotts or demonstrations and the new sheep they just bought in FarmVille. Of course, they absolutely have to let everyone know about it as well.

Sin #3: Greedy movie media downloaders

Everyone knows that downloading the latest movies and songs through some torrent service violates intellectual property rights. Given the seriousness in which the issue is pursued in some countries, we also wouldn't be surprised if such copyright infringement also violated animal rights, keeps starving African children away from their rations and is perhaps the single-greatest threat to all humankind.

Yes, yes, we know a thing or two about this particular sin. Everyone downloads songs and movies. What techno punk worth his salt hasn't downloaded software program installation files for free off some dubious, semi-legal website? Why?

Because it's the Internet, people. It has everything and if it's available for free most people won't pay a cent for it, whatever the product in question.

You're searching through Google for Adele's latest hit or running your favorite torrent downloader because you have the sudden urge to watch Mission Impossible 5 with Hebrew subtitles. It takes a half second to get a list of files to download. You can almost practically reach out your hand and touch them.

Sure, it's important to pay the person who poured their sweat and blood into creating that product? And, the studios in Hollywood really don't like it when people do it.
But seriously, you're really making me laugh with all this high-minded talk about man's right to property.

Here, I just downloaded the entire re-mastered discography of Pink Floyd. It costs NIS 1,000 retail. If you want, I can copy it to your USB stick. How does that sound?
No problem, come by later. I'll be busy downloading the latest episode of Game of Thrones.

Sin #4: Beware the time draining effects of the Facebook sloth

You probably have caught plenty of people surfing Facebook at work. Only for a second, they promise, just a second.

They really just need to log-in and see if someone has commented on the photo they uploaded last night. Then they'll get back to working on that TPS report.

It's ok, just a few moments on Facebook. There's still time before the meeting is supposed to start. Nothing will happen. What could happen? Nu, what's your problem? The boss left early.

Let me check for a moment what they uploaded, they say. Look, what a funny clip. What, you want to join? Sure, no problem. Here they've posted it on your Facebook wall. Ha ha, don't forget to give it a "like."

Wow, you see how many photos that person they went to college with has posted on their Facebook? Ari totally went bonkers while trekking his way through India.

Oh look, they say, our old friend Shiri uploaded some new photos to Facebook.
Wow, who had any idea she looks like that now. Oh, and she has cute friends too.
Hey, here are some photos from their vacation in Eilat. Wow, Shiri, you must've been really drunk.

Where were they when this all went down? Oh right, in the office, preparing TPS reports.

Oops, it's been an hour and the meeting's already started and all they've done was log in to Facebook to check to see if people commented on the photo they uploaded.

What, can't they just go on the site for a minute? So what if it's at work? What's more important? That damn TPS report or Shiri's photos from her trip to Paris?

Sin #5: The wrath of the Internet talkbacker

Then there are those who excel at slinging mud and slandering others' character on website talkbacks. They use eye-poppingly vulgar word choices.

Did you read they raised the price on gas 50 percent?

Wow, it's time we sharpened our language, to set our fingers ablaze and write what needs to be written:

"This country is a piece of sh*t. Its high time someone turns you over and f***s you, you ret**ds, sons of b**ches."

"All this Netanyahu and Knesset are robbers [sic] and these leftists that live hi on the hog at our expens."

"Everything is fault of [insert here] the ultra-Orthodox/the Arabs/ the Tel Avivians/that c*** Dafne Leef [sic] who hurt everyone."

"All our problems are because of [insert here] the high price of real estate, greedy building contractors, the Bank of Israel, the rest of the banks, city hall, Tel Aviv Mayor Ron Huldai, Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barakat, Subaru that P.O.S. car, Yair Lapid, the media, the rain, the sun, snow."

Grandma, I can't believe you wrote all that.

Sin #6: Wi-fi pirates envyingly eyeing their neighbors' connections

Your neighbor, Charlie, is a good guy. He doesn't blast his music at high volume. He doesn't take bong hits on his apartment balcony, and he doesn't invite his friends over. He takes his dog Marley out twice a day and even brings one of those little plastic baggy with him. Heck, the kid even puts his cans in the right recycling bin.

One time you even helped Charlie up the stairs after his glasses fell and you accidentally stepped on them without him knowing. You love that nerd because he is the best and most harmless kind of neighbor. That and he saves you more than NIS 100 per month on your Internet bill.

At first it was pretty easy. Immediately after you moved into your apartment you turned on the computer and you saw a message pop-up that said that the wireless network home-Charlie was open and unsecured. Score!

But after a couple of months Charlie began protecting his network with a password and you had to bang your head against the wall until you found a way to crack it. Because why should you start paying for Internet service if Charlie already does? So you tried 123456 – but that didn't work. Then you tried both zxcv9876 and 0192837465, but neither did the trick. Finally, in a moment of inspiration you typed in charlieandmarley, and it worked. Oh boy, did it work!

Within a couple of hours nature reverted to its original course and your BitTorrent downloads continued transferring files without interruption. All thanks to Charlie and his loyal dog Marley, who make great neighbors, who don't listen to music at high volume, who don't take bong hits on their balcony, but especially thanks to them for covering for all your porno costs.

Sin #7: Pride of a techie gadget owner

Jailbreaking an iPhone and burning some disks, these are only few of my favorite things.

So Steve Jobs' successor and the Google crew think they can buy your tinkerer's birthright with trinkets. It may have worked for the island Manhattan, but not with today's modern consumer. Do they really think we'll all buy an iPhone or an Android and just sit there content with the basic software package? Come on!

In just a jiffy, you'll see us upgrading the phone so drastically that even its own parents wouldn't recognize it.

Connect some wires here, remove this piece of software there, click this, wait a minute while the device reboots, and another little voila! We have a new, personally customized phone. Let's call it the iPhone IOS 5 with Cydia and an upgraded Siri.

And let none of the cell phone companies try to sell you some hogwash about having some exclusive service provided rights for your phone. You paid good money for your phone and you can do whatever you want with it. But good luck getting your phone with all its "modifications" covered by warranty.

Some of you may think after reading this list, "Why go to heaven when hell has a better barbecue?" Well, the technopunks look forward to making your acquaintance in digital hell. See you there!

Internet pirates, beware: Stealing files is a deadly digital sin.Credit: AP