Wednesday April 23, 2014




The hackers are coming, the hackers are coming!

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Did you folks realize that we're only one slightly off-balanced computer hacker away from total  meltdown?

Nope, I didn't either.

I honestly thought we had some kind of Battlestar technological wizardry policing, defending and protecting us at the highest levels. But when your highest level of defence strategy is Peter McKay, the guy who has more trouble with numbers than I do, we might be a tad vulnerable.

On a recent British Broadcasting Corporation news feature, it was pointed out that public utilities are the easiest things going in terms of hacker haven. It seems during Hacker 101 courses, you know, Computer Hacking for Dummies, shutting down power grids would be an elementary early morning exercise. Smoking out generators is something they could do before the first coffee break. Messing up railroad schedules ... same thing. Messing with airline reservations, another piece of cake. Of course the airlines do a pretty good job of screwing up their own systems, so it might be difficult to differentiate between the self-destruction by Air Canada and a hacker-induced slop over.

According to the hackers interviewed by BBC, taking down power grids is akin to messing around with Guitar Hero after four beers. It's something they'd do if they were having a real boring day and wanted to create a little anxiety in Peter McKay's little circle of friends.

Apparently these super hackers have been pulling consistent pranks like this since 2007.

One Russian techno geek hacked into more than one million computers at once by just focusing on one computer system ... taking it down in less than an hour.  I'm sure you heard about it.

How do you think those centrifuges in Iran's nuclear plant were messed up? Yep, remote hacking. No need to bomb them, just take down their nuclear system by infiltrating their computers.

Laptops trump machinery in our new world order.

Internet dependent nations have the most to lose. Those in Third World nations, where the people earn less than $2 a day and don't own a telephone, let alone a laptop or bank account ... won't lose much at all. We do.

If we can operate machinery by remote control, and fly armed drone aircraft into foreign territories, so can the other guys. And sometimes those other guys are smarter than Peter McKay, our Defence Minister of the Month.

The hackers then noted how medical equipment could be sabotaged,  even without the assistance of government bureaucrats. We use networks for medical information that enemies access on a regular basis. They only need a good reason to bring our systems down and apparently our only real defence will be what kind of respect they have for us.

Regular rules of war need to be redefined to include cyberspace.  The Geneva Convention makes no reference to Apple or PC.

Or we can just keep bopping along thinking everything's OK at Peter McKay's fishing camp as we download Taylor Swift's latest tune, Google Donald Trump or Bev Oda's limousine driver or Friend Brian Burke on Facebook.

Hey, we know what's important.

Speaking of Facebook, sorry I can't post anything this week, Chris ... every time I try to connect this stupid commercial for Cialis shows up. Facebook's folks are telling me I need to reconnect, reboot or redux something or other, but I'm afraid to because I know that it's probably not the Facebook people. It's those guys in Iran, a Nigerian banker or gulp, Nickelback. I don't want to chance it. So Chris, send me a letter, or better yet, maybe we'll talk face-to-face during lunch tomorrow. That will be unique!

If you want to take a chance on e-mailing Park, he might possibly be contacted at normp...@estevanmercury.ca  but no guarantees the Cialis people are watching!


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