Netizens Risk vs Rewards

In one of the famous US serial a character was assasinated by hacking into his pacemaker. Former US Vice president Dick Cheney got his pacemaker disconnected from wireless to avoid security breach. Welcome to the new world of wow technical marvels and one of perpetual insecurity.

Those individuals and groups who wish to do us harm are more empowered than at any time in the past. We all need to understand the disadvantage of always connected devices capturing every moment of our life through constant capturing of data by devices and companies offering us products and services for free. The ability of capturing nearly all the worlds information through a pocket “supercomputer” aka mobile has definitely bought benefits in our lives – we can reach loved ones at a moment’s notice, access a rapidly growing list of services instantly, and learn almost anything we want from anywhere. It’s not just the rich who are benefiting,the greatest gains are being made by the global poor, who can now communicate, collaborate, and bypass some of the institutional & societal barriers that have held them back.

Our personal information and security can become a tool of collateral damage in the continuing battle between nations for control. As high-speed, ubiquitous connectivity among all manner of devices binds us more tightly to technology and to the Internet, a crucial and frightening mega-trend in coming years can be, is that cyber security will become a more important domestic-security issue. If you follow the recent global news, Governments have joined the game of cyber attacks to reduce enemies power sitting thousands of miles away. The future war will not only involve electronic counter measures over enemies missiles and weapons system but also possible attack on IP networks to destroy or cripple civilian infrastructure.

Identity theft is on the roll in the past two decades, but we, the public remains in the dark about its growth in sophistication behind the scenes. The next few years will mark a change from inconvenience to real harm. As we read more about thefts of celebrities’ nude photos and exposure of people’s e-mail, hacking will become something, all of us worry a lot more about. Loss of financial identity is one thing. What is coming now is much uglier—and personal. Data breaches don’t take account of nuance, and may result in devastation of one’s personal and social lives. The trend of collecting data via all possible input devices makes all our movements visible to those who want to derive the good, the bad and the ugly !!!

Connected world through system has tied our lives to cloud which itself will become single point of failure for someone who has the intent to barge into our lives and its details. Do we realise that our unsuspecting behaviour on social media increase the “surface area” of the potential attack, turning our lives into topsy turvy spin. We post pictures of the cars we drive, talk about the places we eat at, publicly reveal our work histories and our personal networks and so on, without giving a second thought to how that information could be later used to hijack our identities right from social to financial and in developed nations its creeping into medical identities for false insurance claims.

The online thefts are difficult to track, increasingly hard to follow who knows what about us, and where they learned it. The convenience of one’s digital existences, from online photos to social networks to online document storage, is undeniable and likely irreversible. So do the benefits outweigh the risks?

I leave the judgement for you to decide whether the risks we face are worth the benefits we receive from putting so much of our data on line so unprotected. for me the conveniences of one-click online orders and automated log-ins to websites courtesy of Facebook are thin compared with the larger risks we face. The big problem is that users (meaning you and I) have only two alternatives: opt in, or opt out.

Are we convinced that sacrificing our security and privacy for online convenience is worth the price ? Is it worth sharing all our data on line and trusting that nothing bad will happen ? Can we curb the urge to share by considering the risk it may cause later?

Do we have the answers….I don’t, do you…….?