Thursday, 14 September 2017

The Great Tech Panic: What You Should Worry About?

Tech Panic – Cause for Worry 

Technology has been making great progress in transforming our lives which has given rise to panic. Experts have been weighing on how much one should be stressed with regards to self-driving cars, malevolent AI etc.

 In cities like San Francisco; Boston, Tempe, Arizona where self-driving cars have been verified on public roads, there have been trained engineers on board to ensure that the emerging tech does not take on the pedestrians. Nidhi Kalra, co-director of the RAND Centre for Decision Making Under Uncertainty, had commented that it is that persons’ task of paying attention to what the vehicle seems to be doing.

As per the most optimistic estimates of experts, fully autonomous cars on the public roads seems to be at least three years away and that technology will never be infallible, people would still die in car crashes.

However, eventually, self-driving vehicles would probably save lives according to Mark Rosekind, chief safety innovation office at Robotaxi start-up Zoox as well as the former head of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, and 94% of the crashes are credited to human mistake.

Would hackers leak my emails? 

To gain access of one’s email is not at all tough. We find phishers who seems to get more refined from the increased power of ransomware attack encountered.

Seth Schoen, senior staff technologist at the Electronic Frontier foundation commented that `a cleverly composed email which states `I’m your tech support person and need to know your password’, still tends to function as a shocking percentage of the time.

When it comes to leaking those emails, the threat to the average person is quite insignificant and attacks like the DNC leaks, the Panama Papers together with the Macron campaign hack could encourage your sense of paranoia, unless you are a Kardashian or a Trump, your personal correspondence is likely to be of little interest to cyber thieves’.

Are We Prepared for Cyberwar?

Former US counterterrorism Czar Richard Clarke in his 2010 book had ranked on how well some countries tend to fare in a digital conflict As per his formula, the US had been placed dead last and on top – North Korea.

Clarke had figured that the US and Russia could have the best offensive hacking capabilities in the world. However, North Korea seemed to have a bigger advantage - absence of digital dependence. The solitary kingdom’s hackers tend to indulge in a scorched-earth cyberwar without risking much since its citizen tends to stay disconnected.

The US on the other hand is in need of the internet than its opponents. Hence Clarke found America more susceptible to what he termed `the next threat to national security’. Seven years thereafter we need to quit worrying that the period of cyberwar is approaching and we need to admit the fact that the digital attacks on infrastructure are unavoidable.

On the contrary we need to focus on how we should recover from them. This would mean bringing down our reliance on digital systems and enhance on maintaining our consistent, out-dated, analog systems, in order that we can fall back on them when digital disaster occurs.

Essential to Hold On to Era of Physical Override 

When a team of hackers had blacked dozens of electrical substations in Ukraine, in 2015, the utility companies had the technician equipped to switch the power back manually, within a period of six hours.

They had been alert since the Soviet-era grid of Ukraine seems to be stiff on a normal day. The modern, highly automated grids of America do not tend to break often. US institutions should develop the readiness of Ukrainian-style, in an event of a grid attack. In case of interference, it is essential for voting machines to have auditable paper ballots as a backup.

 Organisations of all types should be kept updated, offline data backups for speedy recovery when cyber-attacks like the global WannaCry ransomware outburst. There is no need to relinquish on hyper-connected infrastructure though it is essential to hold on to the era of physical override – since when hackers tend to hijack the elevator of your high-rise apartment, one can be glad that the stairs was another option to resolve the issue.

Would Hackers Launch Nuclear Weapons?

Senior researcher at RAND, Bruce Bennett who seems to specialize in counter proliferation and risk management had stated that `in spite of the act flicks imagining that very scenario, it seems highly improbable. Nuclear weapon does not seem to be connected to the internet, making it complex for anyone to hack them.

On the contrary such weapons seems to be organized by standalone computers together with code keys that are distributed by human couriers, which is a method developed and maintained precisely with security in mind according to an aerospace engineer and analyst John Schilling, for 38 North a Korea-focused analysis group.

He informed that there could be a possibility of sabotaging a nuclear bomb by hacking its secondary as well as tertiary guidance system, which is a tactic the US could have utilised on the missiles of North Korea, though there seems little chance that the troublemaker agents could launch bombs.

Would AI Turn Against Humans? 

Paul Christiano, a researcher at the non-profit Open Ai had mentioned that AI ultimately would be capable of directing science experiments executing construction projects as well as develop more AI without human involvement. He together with his colleagues does not seem to worry that the evil robots would destroy us someday.

 Engineers at Google’s DeepMind unit and Oxford’s Future of Humanity Institute however are collaborating in understanding which kind of AI systems could take actions in reducing the chance of being turned off. Their concern lies in the fact that as AI tends to progress beyond human understanding, the behaviour of the technology may deviate from our intended goals. Hence it is up to the researchers to construct a foundation which tends to have human values at heart.

Am I Being Spied on Through my Microphone – Equipped Device? 

Third-party developers, cyber-criminals and at times also the companies which tend to develop smart devices could have the means of accessing your audio stream. Mordechai Guri, head of R&D for Cyber Security Research Centre at Ben-Gurion University in Israel had stated that they are always accompanied by high-quality microphones and your smartphone or smart TV can be turned into a spying device for advertising purposes.

It is also the same in the case of smart home devices such as Amazon Echo and Google Home with far-field always-on microphones. Furthermore apps are probing to access smartphone microphone in order to feed on hyper-targeted ads.

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