Re: As creepy as this thing is...
I mis-read that as "industrial breasts" and then thought that the Just Teat delivery company might what to purchase some shares as well!
868 posts • joined 20 Sep 2007
Over recent years I have purchased refurbished kit when needed. Yes, I know, it's not the very latest shiny shiny, but I honestly can't recall having any issues, at least none so serious that I couldn't fix them myself and the specifications have been just fine for my needs. With such strong demand expected and with shortages of chippery etc., I for one would hope that recycled / refurbished kit could play an important part in the overall supply. Just a thought.
Personally I don't see anything terribly wrong with such periodical intervention by those well versed in security, especially when things are seen to be getting messy and dangerous. I would naturally want to see a document trail and various sign-offs from senior officials etc., with an additional nod perhaps from bodies such as Ofcom (in the UK).
But I can't help thinking that the very nature of out interaction with 'connected' technology has progressively meant us becoming lazy with regard to security, in the sense that accelerating built-in automation and convenience blunts the end users much needed wariness. That is to say that if the masses of the great unwashed seem to care less and less about clicking on any blooming icon, pretty image or link that is presented to them on screen, such behaviours will also likely migrate into the mind set of those with actual responsibility for securing the back end hardware that drives the whole thing! Almost every aspect of our hurried lives is now touched by such connectivity and that means, no matter how reassuring and familiar the pretty icons etc., as end users we barely have time to consider the security of our information, let alone the responsibilities involved in looking after the information held on a corporate or public server involving thousands of individuals!
A great deal of house work obviously needs doing with regard to internet security. For far too long things have been brushed under the rug and the longer it takes to sort it out the worse it will get. There is a lot of serious hard work that needs to be done I feel and if it takes such an intervention to alert us to such matters then so be it. We have only our selves to blame, collectively.
Taking all of the well made points made above, I would like to add the problem of convenience. Todays software is all about convenience. That's all well and good for marketing the stuff and using links within emails etc., but it isn't any bloody good in terms of security. Computers are great servants but terrible masters - inherent in their very design is their ability to execute commands or instructions at fast speeds, without any thought as to the consequences of that instruction - because computers don't think, they do. The thinking still needs to be done by we humans. But then we find a work-around to all this onerous thinking because software developers build in convenience, cos we bloody demand it from them, cos we are dumb that way. So, one approach might be to make things (like opening attachments or clicking on links) a lot harder to do, at least, harder to do without some serious thought about what the consequences might be (see personal liability above etc.). But businesses like to be that one step ahead of the field and would protest that such a slow down in process time would reduce profits and reduce their competitive efficiency. Bring back command line input! (I feel sure many hereabouts will remember having to think through entering commands in that manner!) Or, perhaps better than that, implement a modern version of command line input, with built in flags and checks designed to alert the human user that it is time to apply some serious thought as to the actions they are currently undertaking!
We just can't continue to have all this thought-free, convenient, computing going on if we actually wan't to do something about ransomware / malware etc.
Things are the wrong way round! May I suggest that in future (starting from now), the NAO and Public Accounts Committee et al, are allowed a period sufficient for them to very closely examine all such projects as they are initially presented on paper! Through comparison and learning from past mistakes they can then determine which ones are going to fail / drag on a bit too long, Then, with the help of those 'at the coal face' who will actually live-with and/or work with the outcomes of said project, they can demand further details and costs be fleshed out, until all parties arrive at a final project description which, for once, has a close relationship with reality and, furthermore, wherein the contractors can actually be held to account before the whole shebang just gets all out of shape and drains the public purse to excess, again, and agian and again. Just a thought.
How about providing some substantial technical / financial help in order to provide meaningful security assistance, combined with rigorous appraisal of current implementation, to SMEs? I mean, with the apparently growing number of attempts to phish / attack all manner of businesses globally, would it not be prudent to make meaningful efforts to bring SMEs up to speed regarding keeping their systems as safe as possible and teaching good security practice? It would seem a relatively small price to pay now in order to try and protect the green shoots of recovery later - just saying.
Agreed. "We're building the modern world on computers and that's the best we can do?"
We are indeed rushing headlong into having all the digitized shiny shiny everything which we want right now!, this instant!, with not a jot of consideration or forethought for (Oh too costly) security and all the freakin holes, shonky gapping chasms! that we will leave behind in our wake within the whole kit and kaboodle! Cos we want it now! New and shiny shiny now-ness! Ooh! look at me and my wishy-washy ineffective insecurity ridden mess! Oh! but I mean it looks good tho.
I knew somebody who worked for a major bank in the 70's and inadvertently transferred c.£3M into one of her own accounts. It took place rather late in the day on a Friday, she was frazzled from a stressful work week and had plenty going on in her personal life as well. She said that she awoke, with alarming suddenness, sweating profusely, in the middle of a somewhat troubled Friday nights slumber and immediately alerted her manager to the error. Happily she retained her position with the bank, because she was good at her job.
If ever there was an example of the manner by which social media and digital connectedness has the power to cheapen / poison political engagement and discussion I think that the Trump administration carries the crown there. Finally it turns out that the guy is nothing more than a mere egotistical showman after all and regrettably he has led a lot of people up the garden path, with some serious consequences. But, however distasteful and egregious the actions of a few of his ardent supporters are, it should not be ignored that in general those who backed Trump do have genuine concerns and grievances that need airing and inclusion in discussing the political landscape that lies ahead. As difficult as that inclusion may seem, to ignore them would be to leave the embers of the fire which Trump has ignited to smoulder dangerously (and worse, this is something which he could no doubt take advantage of for himself once again in the future!) This is not to ignore the fact that there are many other groups who also need their voices heard, voices which have been muffled for a lot longer indeed!
I guess what I am trying to say is that it is time to respond to the potentially damaging divisiveness of social / digital media messaging, now, urgently and in such a way that folk truly feel politicians take their words seriously, truly engage with them and share their plight and anxieties. Passing digitised comments, tweets and posts back and forth at lightning speed may look appealing on the surface, but does it really provide a truly effective political service to the people! Or does it just neatly parcel various groups up into clans and followers whose digital segregation simply serves to reinforce their own feeling of separation in a vicious political death spiral! (something no doubt seen as an appealing outcome to those politicians who seek to serve only themselves rather that the greater populace!). Sorry, I don't have any answers as to how to achieve this right now, but I do know that it's time that we came in from the playground, put away the shiny, shiny technology we are all so terribly addicted to and gathered around a big table to discuss it in a grown up, inclusive and listening way.
Perhaps a first step to take on the way forward would be to rid ourselves of the arcane two-party adversarial systems which predominate in our political scene(s). I mean does this system really serves us well in this day and age, it would appear ever more so to serve only those with office inside it!
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There is an old story about a fella who would leave the factory where he worked every Friday night pushing a wheelbarrow with a large tarp draped over it. Dutifully the guard on the gate would lift the tarp but would find nothing in the barrow and the fella would proceed on his way home. In his part of the factory they made wheelbarrows!
Thank you for that well crafted article. I too found myself trying to grudgingly resist having some kind of admiration for the way the attack was constructed.
But it set me thinking along the lines of the human nature we share and our propensity towards optimism and rose-tinted glasses etc.
There is little doubt that the folks who did so much to develop our connected, computerised world, did so with a genuine sense of optimism and pride in offering assistance to fellow academics in order that they could share their research work more constructively, for the betterment of us all in the end.
But I do wonder if what we have subsequently built atop that also suffers from too much of the same optimism and faith in humanity. The initial landscape of the internet could therefore be seen as a very elegantly constructed garden for all to play in (and we all love to play!), but made without paying enough attention to that part of human nature that lies in the dark leafy shadows, easily hidden from our rose-tinted view.
We also suffer from that inclination to readily trust the incessant, keep going forward, marketing speak of both hardware and software vendors, as there is also a very competitive need within many of us to have the very latest shiny shiny in order to come out on top of rival businesses etc. Similarly, computers and processors are all too eager to run an instruction, the split second in which it is given and without any consideration of wider consequences.
So perhaps the shape (landscape), of our vision for the connected future should be to both construct and operate it in a manner that truly mitigates against our very own human outlook on the world. One where indeed multiple pairs of eyes and checks verify and compare inputs/outputs and where the actual digital, electronic switching, is done in such a way as to stop ourselves believing that computers also have a rose-tinted outlook on life! They do not they are awesome bits of technology, but, ultimately, they are just dumb servants it is we who instruct those servants, so lets work to get our very own instruction set sorted out first!
Personally I would much rather be the tortoise in the technological race towards the future, plodding along with care, due diligence and thorough inspection and alertness, than the hare, eagerly racing along no matter what the consequences are going to be.
Human nature, eh!
Ladies and gentlemen as we depart and bank onto a heading that will ultimately take us to our luxury destination in the middle east, you can look out of the starboard windows and gaze down upon all the tiny little ordinary folk of the city as they go about their lives as; bus drivers, shop workers, medical staff, food processors, postmen (and women), street cleaners and fulfilment-centre pickers/packers. See how many of them are queued in the car park of the shopping centre, desperately trying to get the very latest, over-priced, electronic gadget for family members (because every single unit sold out on-line within an hour, over a month ago!), or just any old plastic shit that will do! - which has most probably been produced by some of the companies in which you invest ladies and gentlemen and will ahve been shipped more than halfway around the world, burning hundreds of tons of low quality, high sulphur, bunker fuel! (perhaps some of you are invested in oil ladies and gentlemen?).
See how they stand in those shopping centre queues, their face masks sodden with condensation and warm breath in the chill winter air (providing veritable Petri-dish conditions for any viral / bacterial particles that should land on them!). See how they shuffle forward in a snaking line, trying to avoid contact between themselves and yet compelled, by the coercive force of social media adverts, to grab all the wondrous Xmas goodies that are on offer. They will feel less of themselves if they can't get any of those shiny, shiny things! They will feel that they will be scorned and looked down upon by others on social media if they can't live up to the life style messaging that they constantly receive multiple times every day of their miserable lives! (perhaps some of you are invested in advertising?). Perhaps some of those folk down there assembled / upholstered the first-class seats that you are currently reclining in, perhaps some of them cooked the food you are about to be served with. Perhaps some had to make yet another 50-mile daily commute, in trepidation of contracting Covid-19 on public transport, in order to service this very aeroplane yesterday!
But let us rise above all this tedious quotidian reality and climb to a cruising altitude of 28,000 feet for the next eight hours and just sit back and enjoy the in-flight entertainment, the haute cuisine and the best possible wine list from the very best vineyards of the world. For this plane is funded by and brought to you by money-makers and job-creators and by folk who seldom if ever wonder about the lives of the very ordinary people who; work for them, buy their products and distribute the same product, both on a local and global scale.
So as those tiny folk recede from view ladies and gentlemen, how much does it really matter that they too have bills to pay and jobs to desperately hang on to and food to put on the table, after all, they are only small bills and small tables.
There maybe Covid-19 for many to worry about, but the world just keeps on turning and money doesn't multiply all by itself you know!
(:IF Var ="probablyfeeling_theStress_from_months of this_interminable_freekin virus and the way it magnifies_social_iniquity globally"=True, Then Probably best to finish here init)
What bothers me is the nagging thought that in the not too distant future such gadgetry will be nano-scale and consumers (sorry, product), will be encouraged to have such devices implanted in suitable places around their bodies! (with price reductions / loyalty bonuses offered to those willing to have a sponsors tattoo branded above a given bodily location!). In such a scenario quite what you do when fly-by-night outfits go bust and or security / program updates cease, <insert deity> only knows! Perhaps IT will merge with surgery in order to facilitate such real-time real-meatbag tech! Or micro-bots, under the direct control of yer typical IT technician / laptop repair person, will really get under your skin and rootle around in order to fix, replace or dismantle errant nano-gadgets! Then there is the question of all the personal bio-telemetric data going back to some server farm somewhere and being analised by <insert deity> knows who in order to directly send back tailored advertising straight to your freekin' frontal cortex! (whatever). Just a thought.
I really can't wait for the advent of truly commercial space tourism. Just think how wonderful it will be to have a hen night / stag party in micro gravity - all that vomit and piss floating about! (shudders, eeewww!). Mind you, a brawl breaking out between punters could be really hilarious to watch!
Data is the new oil - isn't that how it is put these days. As has been expressed in posts above, far too many companies collect far too much data on individuals these days and too few people realize this or can even be bothered to consider the consequences. Just because we are taught to expect this kind of behavior in this digital age isn't a sufficient excuse to cover the sorts of Data Theft and Data Trading that goes on! Worse, the very fact that we live in an age so heavily reliant on digital data and it's storage creates an humongous target for criminals to go after and or lock-up and demand a ransome for!
I don't have an answer to the problem as a whole, except that widely educating folk about this and raising their awareness of it must be a good place to start. The ICO is but a mere sticking plaster just so those in high office can use it as an example to make us all believe they are actually doing something!
Grrrr . . . <rant over>
Don't most, if not all, traditional retail banking operations block substantial transfers these days and request confirmation from the account holder before proceeding? Whilst perhaps not entirely fool proof, at least it applies a pause where some due consideration and oversight can be applied. One would imagine that a similar system might be in use where craptocurrencies are involved! - just a thought.
Social media can be so terribly both paralysing and polarising at the same time and the manner by which the vast majority of dumb f*ck sheeple flock to unquestioningly suck up everything that pops up therein is only going to lead to a narrowing of the middle way and a loss of tolerance / democracy.
So it appears that the majority of people are simply too poorly educated to apply reasoned judgement or keep an open mind to alternative arguments within the political realm, they just act like it is all a game show because that is the only mental level they are capable of achieving.
I am seriously beginning to consider welcoming AI-driven digital technocratic overlords to govern over us, which is not a position I had ever thought that I might one day espouse -(so long as any human interference in the functioning of such a system is utterly impossible perhaps).
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