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The Importance of Strong Security Protocols in the Age of Hacking

Hi, there. This is Richard Hendricks, CEO of Pied Piper. I’m writing today as a guest blogger. Because we have something very serious to discuss.

We live in a dangerous time. A very, very dangerous time. We’ve all heard of the Jonathan James hack of NASA. The Vladimir Levin attack on Citibank. The Stuxnet worm. The North Korean Sony hack. The Lulzsec Sony hack. The bottom line is: No one anywhere is safe, especially not Sony. And these are only the tip of the “danger iceberg.”

Twenty years ago, DDOS meant you were typing the operating system DOS and the “d” key stuck. No more. Now, today’s tech CEO is surrounded by a host of threats. The botnets of Russian criminal groups. Chinese military hackers. Network security specialists you accidentally got fired, who are angry. Very, very angry.

Only the strongest of security protocols can possibly defend against a deadly misstep in this modern digital minefield. There must be regular updates and patches for all software. All computers must be air-gapped. Wifi? Buh-bye. Hardlines only. All employees’ cell phones must be stored in Faraday cages, or better yet, a lead-lined box in a freezer. Blackout curtains, unless you want camera drones shoulder-surfing your passwords. Vary your routes to and from work. Ideally, daily polygraphs and invasive body searches for all employees, vendors and visiting “friends” and “relatives,” although admittedly this might not fly in the culture of the Bay Area.

A great man once said, “All paranoid fears have a basis in fact.” I won’t tell you who, because I don’t know who is reading this or what advantage over me they might derive from that information. I will say this: Eternal vigilance may be the price of freedom, but it is also the price of doing business in today’s technology sector.

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  1. Obama, stop saying "Woooooooo!" through my iPhone in the morning when I’m smacking my genitals around.

  2. The real purpose of the NSA?…Obama wants to sniff your panties and watch you smack your genitals around.

  3. The internet was down on Monday throughout the Bay Area. Hit the heart of the beast, Palo Alto, especially hard. Know anything about that? Any "misplaced" tequila bottles or bongs that may have been left casually around keyboards? Hmmm????

  4. Lol to be honest, in that last eposide if you guys had something as simple as a "Y/N do you really want to delete this", would of saved you a lot of hassle HAHAHA

  5. You should also hire a professional interrogation agency to really ensure employee loyalty. Doing invasive body searches and background checks of friends and relatives aren’t enough.

    You have to really get into their heads.

    1. Ask them uncomfortable questions, like "WHERE WERE YOU LAST NIGHT?!"
      2. Give them ~5 seconds to answer
      3. If they don’t respond in time go to Step 6
      4. If they contradict a previous answer, go to Step 6
      5. Go to Step 1
      6. Punish them
  6. Don’t worry Richard, the porn company should have had their back up. If not, let them suffer their own fault.

  7. Sometimes security protocol is not all about the underlying system. It can be as simple as adding confirmation dialog before actually deleting data with delete button to prevent silly accident e.g. a bottle of tequila sitting on it. Just sayin’ man.

  8. I am no text expert, but I would like to suggest that Intersite maybe consider backing up their files.

  9. Hey Richard,

    I think you have a very strong team but I strongly believe you need a good designer. Are you guys hiring? If so, how do I apply?

    Let me know how I can send my portfolio. 😀

Problem 1:

Single Points of Failure

Libraries are vulnerable to losing their collection because all of their books are contained at a single location. Say, for instance, that there was a fire, or a flood, or a vandal defaced John James Audubon’s masterpiece Birds of America by giving all the Warblers human genitalia. Even worse, if the vandal recruited bird haters from other neighborhoods and got ahold of all the copies of the book in existence, it could be lost crude doodles forever. It would be a tragedy on par with the destruction of the Library of Alexandria.

The Problem

Because Birds of America is centralized in one public location, it’s susceptible to permanent deletion. The same goes for content on the Internet — storing all your family photos on a single account in a cloud service? They could all be wiped away if someone hacked your account or corrupted the host servers.

The Solution

Our solution: In our decentralized library, we would duplicate and distribute multiple copies of Birds of America to your neighbors — if you need a copy, you would just go to your neighbor’s house. As our Pipernet town of mobile devices grows, so do the number of neighbors who might have a copy of your book. And the more potential copies there are available, the more secure the book is.

That’s what our new internet will allow you to do too: spread your personal files on devices across the world, so they’re completely safe from bad actors manipulating or deleting them.

Takeaways

All copies of your files in a well-known, hackable location = RISKY!

Files copied and distributed to multiple locations = SAFE!

Problem 2:

No Privacy

In order to check out books, you must have a library card — an ID that links back to your real world identity. That library card reveals all the books you’ve ever checked out, where you returned them, and whether they were returned on time.

The Problem

The tech titans collect data profiles on us too, and theirs are far more comprehensive. They amass thousands of personal data points by tracking our activities in both the online and physical worlds.

Users don’t own or control their own data, so it can be used against them. Take, for instance, Richard’s lawyer Pete Monahan, who had his probation revoked when the state retrieved his library records. Which was… probably a good idea. But for this metaphor’s purposes: bad that they can access that information!

On the web, our data profile is far more detailed, the laws around privacy even looser, and more freedoms are at stake. For example, what if Hooli sold your search data to an insurance company who then denied you coverage because you’ve HooliSearch-ed “kindest Palo Alto based Cardiologist” a few too many times?

The Solution

Replace library cards with anonymous identification cards which are impossible to connect to your real world identity. Instead of using a library card (linked to your name, address, etc.) to check out books, you would swipe a nondescript card (containing no personal details). Your activity would be tracked to keep the system stable, but your identity would not be siphoned and sold. I, for example, would no longer check out books as "Donald Dunn," but rather the nom de guerre "h3w0vbk37vpm."

That’s what our new internet will allow you to do too: use its apps and services without compromising your privacy.

Takeaways

Trading your identity and data for online services = RISKY!

Using services anonymously so nobody can target you = SAFE!

Problem 3:

Censorship and Manipulation

Because a town’s library is run by a small group of administrators, they could theoretically decide what books are available to its people. They could even decide to ban Birds of America, depriving young birders of Audubon’s elegant illustrations, pored over page by page under a government-issued blanket after lights out, giving you hope that even a slender-framed, shivering boy could grow to be as majestic as a Hooded Merganser.

The Problem

On the internet, multinational corporations can screen content, or even “adapt” their services to fit the local government’s requests. In both libraries and on the Web, we’re susceptible to data being censored or manipulated by intermediaries.

The Solution

A peer-to-peer lending system backed up by a fully public ledger, allowing you to send and receive books freely to anybody in the world without worrying about censorship or interference. Want to add Catcher in the Rye, Fahrenheit 451, or your controversial essay on Audubon’s coloring techniques? No problem, even if the town surrounded you with pitchforks to ban them, these vital texts would be available to share neighbor to neighbor, impossible to delete.

That’s what our new internet will allow you to do too: exchange messages and files directly with their intended receiver, disperse ideas and information free from threats of censorship.

Takeaways

Pushing all transactions through a central authority = OPPRESSIVE!

Establishing a peer to peer exchange system based on an immutable public ledger = FREE!

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