Hackers have the veto

Written by on December 17, 2014 in News with 0 Comments

We seem to be becoming used to shocking attacks on our society, whether it be life or freedom of speech. Setting aside the shocking level of physical voiolence, the attack on Sony should be as shocking. It is a form of extreme censorship, combined with blackmail. Every company should worry deeply. Even our own sites were off the air for a day last week as person or persons unknown decided to launch a DDOS attack on the nice people who host them.

Top executives were sent black emails (always good to lighten up a sombre article with a completely new term) asking for money or the entire company would be attacked. They refused. The entire company was attacked.

And then Sony employees were sent an email saying ‘get in touch if do not want your top secret files out in public.’ Complete with a list of file names.

As if that was not enough, suspicions are that this is State sponsored and sparked by a comedy about North Korea, called ‘The Interview.’ Due to be released on Christmas Day, the hackers threaten retribution if it is launched, not just on Sony, who made it, but on cinemas that screen the film. According to Variety the hackers said “remember the 11th of September 2001. We recommend you to keep yourself distant from the places at that time.”

The secret emails of employees being made public seems as nothing when compared to that kind of threat.

Setting aside the veiled threat of actual violence (which worked), should the threat from hackers have any weight for customers? We know that everything we see and do is recorded, if not by Google (who will offer you a photo album to remember your journeys) or a Government agency (who has probably seen all your secret files anyway). Hackers are just another agency that knows what we are up to.

Setting aside the actual threat to companies (and presumably Governments and countries) are we, as customers, simply going to have to get used to being constantly under attack as well. How many times have we been advised to change our passwords? How many passwords do we need to have and remember?

It seems ironic that we are, apparently, gliding gently into the Age of Aquarius, of openness and freedom of expression. But in fact we are being enclosed in a necessary prison of censorship, surveillance and, we are told, protection.

The only way to avoid the threat is to switch off our devices. The trouble is that we are so used to being connected, very few would choose that route.


About the Author

About the Author: Alex was Founder and CEO of the Global Billing Association (GBA), a trade body focused on the communications sector. He is a sought after speaker and chairman at leading industry conferences, and is widely published in communications magazines around the world. Until it closed, he was Contributing Editor, OSS/BSS for Connected Planet. He is publisher of DisruptiveViews and previously BillingViews. .


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