Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Blogpost #3 - Conflict and Warfare in the Digital Age

According to the Congressional Service, "US officials now consider cyberspace to be a domain for warfare, similar to air, space, land, and sea."

After reading this article, I got a better understanding for the topic "Conflict and Warfare in the Digital Age".

I was one of those who listened to the lecture on cyber-warfare and thought to myself "all this hacking stuff is done through computers, and I could careless who hacks into it, or sends a virus". That thought quickly upgraded when I read the line "If these things [talking about railways and electrical systems] were threatened, some commentators believe it is not just the internet at threat, but many lives."

So many people, like myself, don't understand the extent to which these hackers can reach. Almost every system we control these days is run by technology and can be hacked. With technology, military literally wouldn't even need to step foot into the country they were attacking - they just hack a system and start shutting down power grids, disrupting public transportation, or water systems. The article points out that there's no "Red Cross" or "FEMA" for the internet. Who do we send to help the aftermath of a cyberwar?

My point is that this conflict has the ability to grow larger than just web vandalism.

In 1998, we had the digital power to hack into air trafficking systems to hide incoming planes on a radar. That was almost 15 years ago! Imagine the capabilities hackers have now.

I agree with Frank Coggrave, vice president of digital investigators Guidance Software, as he believe these sorts of comments are "edging towards hysteria", because simply by reading this article I started to run through all the cyber warfare possibilities. It's scary.

The problem now is how do you prevent it?

"There is no clear, internationally agreed upon definition of what would constitute a cyber-war," said a report released at the Munich Security Conference by The EastWest Institute. To begin with, the internet was designed to be a free country. When it turns into a cyber war, who is to determine territory or boundary lines? And how will anyone be able to pinpoint one organization or country to blame, when we have such interconnectivity? Also, Viruses tend to be indiscriminate, they are not like soldiers who you train to attack certain things. How will a virus know what computer or system belongs to whom?

For me, these questions are hard to answer, but for people and organizations who study and live in this information, the answers might be in their hands, and they may be holding more power than we imagine. I think it's time we stand at our digital frontline and build our online security, before we find ourselves on a very different type of battlefield.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

The Digital Divide - Blogpost #2

The Digital Divide is increasing as new technologies are on the horizon and the people who were already on the other side of the gap are getting left behind. This gap that was discovered in the 90's, has since gotten bigger as more and more computers, smartphones, tabloids, media sites, and technologies have hit the markets. It came to my attention as I read the article from LiveMint.com.

One quote in the article mentions that "Six Months ago Pinterest wasn't on everyone's radar." This made me realize that even people, like myself, who have access to computers and the internet 24/7, and are knowledgeable in the technologies , are divided from a group of people who are ahead of me in what the "latest" is in the digital world.

Social media and digital literacy are becoming required skills for people seeking jobs in any area of work. Just about every industry has jumped on the social media bandwagon and registered for Facebook and Twitter accounts. They are also using sites like this to find out information about potential employees. It's a huge disadvantage, these days, not to be tech savvy.

As we were asked on our web-publishing exam, what can we do to close the gap in the digital divide? My first response is to make people aware that there is a gap. After reading this article, I realized we need to actually go forth and close the gap by taking action. By offering guidance and courses to those with less knowledge and capability, we can get others caught up with whats going on in the digital world.

It's kind of like those religious people who walk around trying to spread the word of God, but spreading the word of the divide, and how important it is to close it. If we can educate people on whats going on in the digital world, it will start to help educate people in all kinds of ways. For instance, digital literacy can increase skills in reading and writing, and expose people to an infinite amount of information, connecting them with all sorts of people and industries around the globe.

We mentioned multiple ways that closing the divide helps the world, such as economic equality, social equality, social mobility, growth, and national security to name a few. If we make people aware of the positive affects of closing the gaps, there's a possibility that there would be more drive to fix it.

If we can catch people up on digital literacy through tutorials, classes, and such, it will allow us to move forward into figuring out what our society needs, what the next step forward in the digital world should be, and how to improve our position in society.