All posts filed under “AI

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Internet of shitty things!

b66b95478fBrian Krebs is the most reputable name in CyberSecurity reporting, his krebsonsecurity website is the best source of ‘real’ journalism on the subject.

But reputation works both ways, the same thing that makes him popular in some circles, makes him unpopular in other. He’s had criminal hackers send him heroin in the mail and even have SWAT teams descend on his home with guns all blazing (in a phenomenon called swatting!). Reporting and exposing underground cyber-criminals comes at a price, you don’t piss of darknet crime lords without taking a few hits along the way.

The problem though is when those ‘few’ hits, turn into a hurricane of web traffic aimed at your server, because that’s exactly what descended on Krebs’ server late last week, when krebsonsecurity was hit by an epic DDOS attack

DDOS is an acronym for Distributed-Denial-of-Service, which basically means forcing so much web traffic to a single website that it eventually collapses–making it unable to provide services to the ‘real’ visitors of the site. All websites run on servers with finite capacity, DDOS attacks are about sending enough traffic to those servers that they eventually exceed that capacity.

But this DDOS was different, and krebsonsecurity will go down in history as the Hiroshima of this type of DDOS. But nuclear weapons only had Hiroshima and Nagasaki, krebsonsecurity will be the first in a Looooong line of DDOS attacks of this scale.

So what makes this attack so different as to merit it’s own class? Well 3 things.

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Technology saves lives, but it isn’t perfect

What do you do when the technology turns on you?

Or when the feature that’s built to save you, is the one that might just kill you?

There’s a stark similarity between the Takata airbag fiasco, that’s already taken 2 Malaysian lives, and the lady who died in self-driving Tesla.

Both involve the auto-industry and both are technology related, but together they represent a much deeper issue at hand–despite our noblest expectations, technology isn’t perfect–but it’s better than we had before.

We’ve all been trained by Hollywood to expect perfect technology, working all the time and in every scenario, but in reality technology sometimes fails, and newer technology fails more often.

Technology endures through failures, only by our good graces, but unless we grant that grace to it, we will not progress.

What should our response to a technical failure be?

Do we insist on removing ALL traces of the offending technology, or do we accept it as a price of progress, that the occasional failure is a tax we pay to get better technology.

But are some taxes just too high?

Society might accept failing antennas on an iPhone, or even bad Google searches, but an air-bag, that might blow a hole in your chest or a car that might crash you into a truck, might be too high of a price.

So is the tax for air-bags and self-driving cars just not worth the potential safety we get in return?