During the 1939 hit movie, “The Wizard of Oz”, the Scarecrow, the Tin Man and Dorothy, chanted the memorable phrase, “Lions and Tigers and Bears, oh my!”. Today its just as likely that the things to be concerned about are AI (artificial intelligence), Hackers (those ne’re-do-wells seeking profits at other’s expense) and Drones (those minicopters that homeowners, realtors, the military deploy and Amazon may be using to deliver our orders) – Oh My!
Lions, Tigers and Bears aren’t necessarily out to eat us or the primary characters of Oz, but then neither are AI, Drones and/or (some) hackers necessarily ‘bad’.
Some realtor’s use drones to give us a bird’s eye view of a potential new home AND Amazon is looking at drones for speedier deliveries.
Yet, according to the New York Post “Last year “an autonomous weaponized drone hunted down a human target last year” and attacked them without being specifically ordered to, according to a report from the UN Security Council’s Panel of Experts on Libya, published in March 2021 that was published in the New Scientist magazine and the Star. Oh my!
Elon Musk has a very complex relationship with artificial intelligence. He does not think AI is necessarily bad and a technology that should be avoided at all costs. In fact, all of his companies are heavily reliant on AI in some form or another. He has, however, repeatedly warned that AI will soon become just as smart as humans and said that when it does we should all be scared because humanity’s very existence is at stake.
The late Stephen Hawking was a major voice in the debate about how humanity can benefit from artificial intelligence. Hawking made no secret of his fears that thinking machines could one day take charge. He went as far as predicting that future developments in AI “could spell the end of the human race.”
Gizmodo writer, George Dvorski, recently suggests in his article How an Artificial Superintelligence Might Actually Destroy Humanity, “Divorced from human contexts and driven by its goal-based programming, a machine could mete out considerable collateral damage when trying to go from A to B. Grimly, an AI could also use and abuse a pre-existing powerful resource—humans—when trying to achieve its goal, and in ways we cannot predict.” Oh My!
Likewise, hackers are not inherently nor ALL evil. In a negative sense, hackers are people or groups who gain unauthorized access to websites by exploiting existing vulnerabilities. In a positive sense, hackers are computer professionals who discover the weak points in IT applications and help to resolve them. Half full, half empty.
Indeed, hackers were responsible paving the way for making the PC you’re currently using to read this post on the internet AND for the internet itself. Going back to the early days of the personal computer, many of the members computer clubs in Silicon Valley would have been considered hackers in modern terms in that they pulled things apart and put them back together in new and interesting ways.
Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, for example, is a self-professed hacker, but he is far from the only hacker whose programming skills helped launch major ventures. Linus Torvalds, the creator of Linux was a hacker too, as was Tim Berners-Lee, the man behind the World Wide Web. The list is long for the same reason the list of hackers turned coders is long – they all saw better ways of doing things.
On the darker side, ‘black hat’ hackers often try to profit at your expense by breaking into sites and staling you identity and/or Credit Card information. Recently, hackers shut down a major US oil pipeline, a large scale meat producer/supplier and one of the largest US insurance agencies – holding each for ransom – in these cases for tens of millions of dollars.
But you’re not that large, you’re not a target, right? You could be wrong. On average, 30,000 websites are hacked every year. A business falls victim to ransomware every 11 seconds. Over 50% of all data breaches were a result of hacking.
At the Imagination Factory we treat your security and the security of your customers seriously. We design sites to to be aesthetic and functional but also secure. Remember that cheap designer, that inexpensive template, that cheap host and/or that DIY Web Builder platform, if hacked, will either disappear like so much water vapor or take your site offline until YOU get it fixed.
We are often a good first step, but we can’t do it alone. We can’t stop it (or them) all, but we do a pretty good job. And for that which we cannot, you should consider cyber-security insurance. We don’t sell it, but we know some really good people that do. Ask us, we’ll put you in touch with them.