Obviously criminals (or Crime Inc. according to M . Goodman) are probably years ahead in exploiting technology for their ventures. These days robbery can be executed without the robbers being there. They may rob banks in New York but they are physically may be in Romania or Russia or Slovenia. And definitely new laws need to be formulated to deal with these criminals and crimes. What is scarier is the ability of the 3D printing technology that can print almost anything including weaponry and the rise of synthetic biology (synbiotechnology) that can utilise and manipulate DNA to grow almost anything including drugs. Drug lords may no longer need to acquire land to grow marijuana, coca, or poppy. They can build them in the labs in massive quantities.
Recently it was reported that Paul Weller’s daughter is suing Porsche for being a responsible party to his father’s death in an accident involving his father’s Porsche. Can we sue Google or Microsoft or Facebook or any other app development company if their apps cause damage to us? Goodman says probably not because most of the time we already gave our rights away by agreeing to the lengthy and minutely writtenToS. Pity.
What can we do about all these cyber threats? Goodman advocates the need for the world to follow examples of the medical field in countering diseases. We have been taking the cue from the medical jargons in describing the ICT problems. We used words likes virus, anti virus, infection, viral, antidote, attack, health check, system paralysis etc. Unfortunately we do not follow strictly what the medical world do to prevent diseases. From young we were told to wash our hands after going to the toilet, we were educated not to share personal items, we were taught to wear proper clothing for to suit the environment. We need to follow the same principles in the IT world. We must make it a habit to clean up our devices, scan before we use new drives, never share our PCs without protection, never share our passwords. All these are basic IT health steps that we must take, just like when we are trying to prevent diseases.
Companies must also admit that they have been attacked. So that events and solutions can be tracked and reused and others can take precaution. Just like a rape victim not reporting the crime will encourage the perpetrators to be bolder and repeat the crime to other innocent victims.
We need to build machines that are more resilient and minimise monocultures of OS. 90% of the ATM machines are currently still running on Wndows XP. And Windows XP are no longer supported by Microsoft for security vulnerabilities! We need machines that can self heal and isolate problems very quickly. Human bodies were built with excellent self healing properties. The immune system would automatically detect problems and automatically spring into action with various antibodies and the problems would be isolated very quickly. Masyaallah, of course we can never build something Allah has designed for us but we need to think along those lines to build our machines of the future.
Goodman recommended us to take these steps:
Update frequently: We must update our system regularly so that all the necessary patches and fixes are up to date.
Proper passwords: Passwords should be at least 20 characters long and contain a mixture of letters, symbols, caps, and lower case and should be change very three months or so. This is a bit difficult, I must admit.
Download only from official sites: All downloads must be done from the official sites not from any other linkages.
Administrators rights should be given with care: The less number of admin the better. It is easier to track any wrongdoings if the number of admin is small.Too many cooks definitely will spoil the soup.
Turn off your device when not using it: We are all guilty of this, yours truly especially. More so with devices that have cameras attached to them. Crooks can easily hijack your devices and records whatever you do without you even knowing it.
Encrypt your digital life: All important files should be encrypted before being saved or transported in the cyber space. Quite tedious thing to do. May not be practical but if we consistently do it it would be second nature.
Finally, Goodman remind us that, 85% of all cyber breaches are due to human errors and follies. Our carelessness actually the main cause of our problems. Not unlike the crimes in the real world.