Cybersecurity Trends And Their Implications For The Future

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Chris Browning

Chris Browning is the Editor-in-Chief of Gun News Daily.

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  1. Avatar Mike Dwyer
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    says:

    This was interesting (and a bit scary). I have a recurring nightmare where someone hacks into Evernote and deletes everything on their servers. At last check I have close to 1,000 notes stored there and it would be very disruptive to my world. Same for Google Drive. I make quarterly backups of both, but at the rate that i add to them that would still be a big loss of data.Report

    • Avatar Michael Cain in reply to Mike Dwyer
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      says:

      I am older and more paranoid than you, and worry less that a company storing my structured data will be hacked than that they will go bankrupt and shut down abruptly, screw up backwards compatibility, be acquired and jack up the rates with no export capability, etc.

      Not all that long ago a friend of mine had need to go back to a 20-some year old MS Word document. Nothing would read the format it was in, including MS’s own tools. All that effort to move the file from medium to medium over the years, wasted. Shortly thereafter I needed to revisit a 30-some year old document done with Unix troff. Flat ASCII file so the text was available even if the software hadn’t been; as it turned out, GNU groff would correctly format the contents.Report

      • Avatar Mike Dwyer in reply to Michael Cain
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        says:

        Evernote backups are in ENEX format, which I believe is unique to them. Not sure if it can be read by other software or not.Report

        • Avatar Mr.JoeM in reply to Mike Dwyer
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          says:

          Good news, bad news.

          Good news, ENEX is a mostly text format. Evernote appears to have made some light documentation available. So, if Evernote were to disapper with your data tomorrow; enterprising folks would likely be able to quickly write translators into other formats. They may already have. I did not look.

          Bad news, ENEX is a mostly text format. This also means most if not all the data is available to things that can read text, even if they do not know ENEX specifically. Be careful what you do with those files. Treat them essentially the same you would a sheet of paper with those things written on them. As a general rule, I would recommend considering encrypting them.Report

  2. Avatar Michael Cain
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    says:

    The IoT terrifies me. We have a new TV, and I haven’t decided if I’m going to let it connect to our household network or not. I may finally get around to setting up a separate subnet for it and future gadgets that doesn’t let them (easily) talk to the computer gear with important data.Report

  3. Avatar Joseph T Mroczek
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    says:

    Security is a pond cesspool I too find myself swimming in.

    Security = Safety in the compute/networking realm. However, we do not treat it as such. In every other engineering/technical discipline safety is the first thing taught and is integrated into every facet of it. Safety in CS is bolted on to a project, at best, and left for the next version at worst. We really do not even have good tools to create computing things safely. Think of a modern circular saw: deadman switch, blade guard, warnings about eye protection and blade sharpness, all sorts of indicators on correct usage. You have to try to injure yourself with that thing, outside of dropping it on your foot. There is nothing like that in computing, esp software.

    I had an opportunity to chat with the head of one of the most prestigious CS programs and asked how close they were to fully integrating computing safely into their program. His response was extraordinarily disappointing. Security is an optional elective for freshmen and the subject of some really interesting post-doc projects they have. They don’t really touch it in between. They have it as an elective for freshmen because “every one wants their topic in the 101 classes, and it’s not very exciting like parallel computing or AI.” Until we have at least a generation of engineers that safety is ingrained from the very start and have the safety mindset in everything they touch, we won’t even come close to building the tools we need let alone make them automatic.

    Ask anyone in the field about what they work on. Is it safe/secure? Would you bet your fingers that it is? I have no qualms about betting my fingers on a circular saw or my life getting in an elevator or airplane. The safety of that stuff is built in from the start and always present in design, maintenance, and destruction. That is not true about virtually every bit of computing gear. (The closest there is to meeting this standard is probably slot machines, but I bet even those engineers would not put their fingers on the line.)

    The sad truth is that it is worse than you think even after you take in to account that you know it is worse than you think. It is not hyperbole to say that people are gonna have to die before we really start addressing these issues. The only question is how many. What is the triangle shirtwaist fire of IoT?Report

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