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February 2015

That What you Don’t Know About Interconnectivity may Shock you

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“Regrettably, the immune system protecting this global nervous system is weak and under persistent attack. The consequences of its failure cannot be overstated. As a result, it is time to start designing, engineering and building much more robust systems of self-protection – safeguards that can grow and adapt as rapidly as new technological threats are emerging into our world.”

Each day people are becoming more and more connected to networks, becoming mindlessly dependent and utterly defenseless to the magnetic pull of digital devices. For most people, smart phones are charging right on their beds beside their sweet little heads; prime position for when that routine interruption of sleep occurs. They can reply to texts, update apps, or update status so they can be at one with the cyber waves emanating from their beloved “pets”. For some people their devices have become a function of their sleepwalking habits, but that’s a story for a different day, and a little too close to home. This dependency or obsession shows the true power of the machine and the willingness people have to deny cyberspace security preventative measures for the sake of Facebook likes, Twitter trends, or Candy Crush high scores. With this undeniable and overwhelming presence on the internet and throughout the world, malware is being spread effortlessly through the Web and is taking exponentially longer to detect. Our trustworthiness and naivete could eventually end up costing us our identity,our economic standing, our family and friends, our possessions, or even our independence.

Marc Goodman got his big break in the Los Angeles Police Department after showcasing his computer skills to his superiors. Back in 1995 skills were quite limited in comparison to today’s landscape, but still just as warranted and simply mind-blowing to behold. Amazing Marc performed the spellbinding spellcheck on Wordperfect and subsequently his career path swiftly began in high-tech policing. Since then, Marc has worked as the Futurist in Residence for the FBI, the U.S. Secret Service, Interpol, and has founded The Future Crimes Institute. The author prioritizes his focus on the projection of the future with a look at robotics, virtual reality, synthetic biology, artificial intelligence, nanotechnology, 3-D printing and quantum computing advances. The criminals of the future are adopting these bleeding edge technologies before government regulators and end users are able to even familiarize themselves with it, let alone respond accordingly. It doesn’t matter what comes around the corner, criminals are always several steps ahead looking for the next fence to climb or bridge to jump off. The author provides some sound advice on how to: better prepare yourself, adopt preventative measures, and assess the upside and downside of interconnectivity.

“As information technologies continue to double in their price performance, capacity, and bandwidth, amazing things become possible. Take for example the iPhone that hundreds of millions of users carry in their pockets today. Incredibly, it literally has more computer processing power than that which was available to all of NASA during the Apollo 11 moon landing 40 years ago.”

It wasn’t too long ago when door-to-door encyclopedia salespeople would come around hocking their resources for several hundred dollars a book without batting an eye. My parents were one of the, I assume, many people who felt it was a smart investment for their children’s future. Overtime Encarta on the computer replaced the paper bound reference medium, and to me became a world of wonder and a life-changing experience. Today, Encarta is pretty much a nostalgic memento from the past and a butt of many jokes for the Generation Me of today. With the expansive flow of information at your beck and call there really is no need to ask questions anymore. At the stroke of a few keys you are privileged to be in the driver seat as you travel down the wonderful world of the information superhighway; but I ask you one important question, what is that ugly looking thing riding shotgun with you?

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This book is most definitely not recommended for the paranoid as it will probably put you into a state of disrepair , nor is this book recommended for the cynical as it will probably reinforce your pessimism of all things bad in good situations, nor is it a book for the hypochondriac because if you thought your health was bad, just you wait. This book should be read as a resource to heighten awareness about the world around you and the potential dangers that may be forced upon us before the world is ready. It must become an objective for us all to stay on top of these dangers before we become more of a victim than we already are and lose more than we that we could.

Overall, I had previously been made aware of some of the problems mentioned in this book. I try to stay on top of the issues facing the digital world as much as I possibly can. I have always found it odd that after I buy something online I will be bombarded with complementary or comparable products. For me, as for as technology obsession, I try to stay behind the curve about two to four years. You won’t see my lining up for the latest gaming system or smart phone, I didn’t get my first high definition tv until four years ago and generally try to lay in the weeds or divert attention from the all seeing powers that be, especially the cloak and dagger of the deep web. What this book did provide was some scary realities that made me think twice about where we are as a society. The Girls Around Me application was frightening, the baby cam story and the robotics mistakenly killing warehouse workers are something out of a horror movie, the capabilities of 3-D printers was interesting but very alarming. In 2012 the word Facebook appeared in 1/3 of all divorce filings. GPS tracking and the effects on married philanderers and the insurance claim fraudsters was humorous. From Nicky Nicky Nine Doors, to fake pizza orders, to phone spoofing and now swatting; if that’s not exponential growth I don’t know what is. I was amazed at how much control machine’s have over society’s infrastructure. After reading this I felt compelled to get a water filter for my sink. The author includes historical referances, progressions through the years, and real life cases of technology gone wild; and trust me it’s not all just for the “lulz”, but remember folks that Google is always oogling all your data, this has become more than just deleting your browser history.

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“More importantly, a review of the Sirius requests on his iPhone uncovered the following question: ‘Siri, I need to hide my roommate,’ to which Siri helpfully replied, ‘Swamps, reservoirs, metal foundries, and dumps.’ The question and answer both prominently featured at Bravo’s trial. As AI improves, we can expect growing numbers of criminals to use these tools to help them in the commission of their crimes as we enter the age of Siri & Clyde.”

 

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