I’m driving up to Columbia South Carolina to spend Christmas with my sister. Here’s sumpin’ from Ron.
Anybody with open ears, open eyes, and an open mind knows that the US is perhaps the most vulnerable society on the planet for cyber attacks. We are more dependent upon technology and communications than any other major state these days.
A concerted attack on the internet could disrupt banking and commerce, not to mention such related activities as deliveries, inventories, appointments, and a host of other taken-for-granted features of our lives that we’d have a hard time doing without.
And a concerted attack on specific systems, such as satellites or the power grid or the military, could effectively kick us back in time to the way things got done in the 40s and 50s, with no cell fones, no iPads, and no TV except local broadcasts.
Our biggest threat right now may not be Russian aggression, or Chinese manufacturing, or Persian nukes, or radical Islam . . . or even (GASP!) anthropogenic global warming. It might be some potbellied neurotic metrosexual schlemiel in an overstated plaid onesie and a pile of warm Hotpockets beside his 24oz Diet Coke in his parents’ basement playing on his Hewlett-Packard.
A cyberbully can be a 5-foot-nothin 125-pound pure Walter Mitty milquetoast behind an impenetrable wall of online anonymity, a twerp who is entirely incapable of causing direct physical harm to anyone older than middle-schoolers.
The hacker revels in his sense of power that resides in his keyboard. It gives him a feeling of being “cool” like Keanu Reeves or Wesley Snipes or Keifer Sutherland to know he can take down a telephone network or a college admin computer system or a Hollywood movie studio.
The reality is, though, that once he begins to interfere with infrastructure and official documents and command & control, what he’s doing is simply sabotage, espionage, or extortion, all of which are unlawful activities with stiff penalties.
Now, while I’d hate to see the government get involved in regulating (and of course taxing) the internet and all it affords us, the dangerous sappers and spies and strong-arm bullies will always be among us, even if they’re wearing PJs and eating cous-cous.
That little “Post Comment” function can interrupt or intimidate or degrade the level of a blog. Innuendo, spin, and ad hominem attacks can even drive other commenters away from discussions amongst like-minded individuals merely enjoying a hobby.
We really need to tighten up existing law, bring it up to date, and develop ways to find hackers, parasites, and extortionists, then drag them into court by the most sensitive parts of their self-loathing anatomies where we can defang and declaw them, permanently.
While many of the worms and bugs and viruses plaguing the system for the past 10 years or so have been merely nuisances or barely disguised revenue sources for computer fix-it IT types, there are some who, for a variety of reasons (often jealousy or envy) want to punish anyone having a little fun. Who profits most from the insertion of worms and viruses on the ‘net? People who provide firewalls and PC security systems and diagnostic/”repair” software.
I don’t really know who got into the Sony files and manipulated or exposed sensitive, guarded data. My suspicion is that since Sony is a Japanese company, it probably was predominantly Chinese and the Un Kim connection was a red herring that worked out far better than they’d expected.
What I do know, however, is that the Persians, the Chinese, the Russians, and especially the little NorKor brat who keeps getting fatter while his people starve are all LTAO at us.
Why is it that the richest, most modern, most technologically advanced, and most powerful nation on earth blinks whenever someone mentions either race or terror attack? Good Fargin’ Grief! The Pentagon undergoes thousands of cyberattacks every week, and so do many major corporations. Grow a set, facrissakes!
The thing to do in a case such as the really stupid movie that the threat was focused on is to make absolutely certain everyone in the entire world sees it. The only way to handle that kind of blackmail is to get out in front of it and promulgate the very thing it’s trying to bury.
In the country where I grew up, if you tried to pull that stuff you’d get told to pack sand, or take a hike, or “Tell that to the Marines.” Hitler thought the US was too soft, too pleasure-oriented, too self-interested to get involved in a shooting war, and Tojo thought that as soon as he sank our 7th Fleet, we’d get on our knees and plead for him not to invade the West Coast.
Was the typical American citizen in 1940 opposed to involvement in a war in Europe? Hell yes; Roosevelt had for years been conditioning them to not only “keep the war out of the US but keep the US out of the war.” Did the typical American in 1940 want to go through rationing of butter and rubber and sugar and all that to fight a war all over the Pacific against a fierce and experienced Asian enemy? Damned right.
But Hitler and Tojo were wrong about the American will to fight. Too bad they couldn’t have waited 75 years : they’d have been spot on.
And we have a president and a party who would be willing to surrender to them… GOC