As I have mentioned elsewhere, I am studying Digital Forensics so I spend a lot of time looking at the ways malicious users can ruin, steal, terrorize, etc... using a variety of tech. So it was not a surprise that I ended up having a conversation with the Mister the other night about the subject.
This time we were discussing the fact that the "average Jane or Joe" doesn't really understand the opportunities that technology provides for malicious users and/or terrorists. (Note that I say "malicious user" and not "hacker" as I believe there is a distinction, but that is a discussion for another day). Even my family members who are bright, generally open-minded, and educated individuals joke about the possibility much in the way they talk about the possibility of diet food that tastes good.
Most of our technology is manufactured outside of the country, which could mean that the very foundation of our support system is compromised from the get go. Considering that many of our critical infrastructures rely on such technology, shouldn't we be a bit worried? For those of you who have difficulty with the scope of such a possibility, imagine what would happen if your cell phone died right now? How would you contact anyone? If you could get to a pay phone (which hardly exist anymore) would you know anyone's phone number? I had this happen to me yesterday, and I can assure you I had more than a second of "Oh crap!" to get through before I headed over to my carrier and got a new battery. So picture it on a grander scale as electricity, water, transportation, and GASP! the Internet could be shut down with a few commands.
On a personal level, any time we venture into cyberspace we are putting ourselves, our personal information, and our identities at risk. So every button we click, URL we enter, or search we conduct gives a wealth of information about us to anyone who cares to look for it. Is it possible that we should think about it for a second before we hit enter?
I am not advocating extreme paranoia, but I think there is some sense in considering all the possibilities.