Archive for category Developments In Technlology

Is No One Safe Online?!

In a word: No.

I talked a while back about how a digital attack on Iran could well be the opening of a new phase where the Internet is a battlefield as much as any war torn country.  Well, that seems to have been born out this past week with a number of online attacks “originating from China”.  I put quotes around that because it’s entirely possible that efforts to trace the attack have simply been fooled into thinking that the trail ends in China.  With the Cloud becoming more popular, it’s going to be easier for hackers to take over your computer for their use, without you ever knowing about it.

However, that doesn’t mean that it wasn’t someone (or several someones) in China, either.  There’s something fishy going on, though, because the Chinese government has denied that they were involved (check the bottom of the article).  Maybe I missed it, but I don’t remember anyone else suggesting that they had anything to do with it.  Sadly, it’s all too easy for anyone with a bit of programming knowledge to hack into computers these days.  The odds are pretty good, I think, that the hit on WordPress was just someone making trouble for kicks, like about half of the hacking done anyway.

However, some of it looks to have been pretty deliberately targeted.  It doesn’t matter whether you agree with G20 or not, you’ve got to agree that the hacking attempts against them really made a mess of things.  Put together, they almost look like someone’s getting revved up (no, I don’t think it’s the Chinese government) to make a big splash in the hacking community – who, of course, is probably reading this right now and trying not to laugh too hard.

Just kidding, everyone.  Most of the people in the hacking world aren’t doing it for sheer hate, although plenty of them are using it to make money.  But this is another excellent example of how the Internet is turning into a new frontier for warfare, so you need to make sure that your computers and websites are as safe as you can make them.  Beyond that, there’s nothing you can do but keep moving forward in your business and hope that you never have to deal with the worst of what could happen.



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Better Start Getting Ready For IPv6

As we’ve said many times, the Internet is changing.  Well, looks like part of this is that it’s just about outgrown it’s current limits.  There are only about a hundred million IP addresses left on the current system (IPv4).  So, major companies like Facebook and Google – and the U.S. government – are getting everything ready to switch over to IPv6.

That’s important, because adding new IP addresses isn’t the same as adding new area codes to the phone listings – which is still quite an undertaking in and of itself!  Instead, a whole new system had to be written so that everything could still work properly.  Most people aren’t going to be affected in their private lives, because the hardware requirements are already included in most recent technology that they’re apt to buy, but anyone wanting their companies to stay online are going to need to make some upgrades to things like their router and other networking gear.

It’s nothing to get in a frenzy about:  the Internet isn’t going to collapse simply because there’s no room for any more website addresses.  It’s actually going to be comparable to replacing your old car with a newer model.  Some effort is involved, and you want to find the best deal you can, but as long as you get it done before your old one dies completely you’re going to be fine.  And, considering that IPv4 is nearly forty years old, I’d say it’s got a pretty good track record for not dying.  All you need to do is make sure that you get ready before everyone switches over, so that you aren’t left behind.

The Internet is changing.  This change means new growth.  Anyone who’s ready when it happens will be in a great position for taking the lead in all parts of online business.  Everyone else will just have to follow their lead.

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Computers Are Evolving

By now you’ve noticed how much people are starting to value to new “Cloud” approach to the Internet. It really is more advanced than the basic per-server way that everything’s been done so far. But, you might not know that the hardware used on all computers is evolving to, because that advance is coming from a sector you might have overlooked: gaming.

Everyone knows that one day, we’re going to have something that looks like the computer systems in the old Jetsons TV series, but thanks to the Xbox Kinect and a bunch of people tinkering with it on their own time, we’re actually a step closer to the day when your whole room is your computer interface. With further innovation, the technology behind the Kinect could soon replace both keyboard and mouse as the way we control our computers.

As soon as that’s combined with the new Cloud technology, we’ll be able to just turn on our monitor-televisions and control everything with a wave of our hands. It’ll be so amazingly easy to access everything we want that the way we’re surfing the web now (admittedly impressive) will seem like the crude bumbling of technological cavemen.

HAL will be with you, always.

HAL will be with you, always.

Of course, falling back on classic geek humor lines, it’s also possible that we’re creating our own doom here.  The Cloud works byhaving computers share their resources with each other, essentially turning them into a larger hive computer. Many sci-fi stories have relied on the premise that something like this leads to computers becoming self-aware and deciding that they should get rid of humanity. If that happens, we’re giving an ideal set of eyes to something that ultimately wants to kill us.

In the meantime, we move forward, advancing ourselves toward a brighter futurewhere our lives will be a little easier and our days will be filled with easier access to the information we need. It may well be that our computing and cloud surfing will be a lot safer than browsing the Internet has ever been. Just make sure that you know how to deal with giant killer robots along the way.

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