I find myself in an odd place of late with a growing realisation that the things I had been ok with perhaps just able to tolerate have now finally reached the stage where I find annoyance, anger and fear. The other morning I was frantically calling my dad to tell him to uninstall his “Sky” based apps because I had just read that Sky had been hacked and the apps were compromised. About six hours later the reports changed to state that they had been hacked with a lot of their apps defaced in the google marketplace or play store (whatever you want to call it that won’t upset Apple) and crucially their twitter and support accounts had also been hacked and had told users to uninstall the apps.
So in this case my Dad had nothing to fear, he would have been fine if I had not told him to uninstall the apps but because I did he no longer has any “Sky” products to watch. The irony being they have also all been removed from the play store due to them being hacked as well. So he can not reinstall them. #Fail as they say.
Now it is funny when Robert Downey Jr. does this in Iron man as the genius Tony Stark. It is great when Jonny Lee Miller and Angelina Jolie does it in Hackers or Robert Redford in Sneakers. BUT when it is the real world it gets a bit depressing. Right now I worry about being hacked. Why I don’t know? I mean even as I type this I can feel my stomach ball up into a knot in fear that this will be some sort of invitation. It is not please don’t, please just leave me alone to exist in my little corner of the internet.
Yes I have now two-step authentication on everything I own. Yes in order to get things from the fridge or use the bathroom I have two 8 digit combination padlocks. No I am not being paranoid if I was I would need three of course! Yes even twitter which is stupid because twitter has made it the most complex and stupid way to protect yourself by only allowing it via a SMS message and only one phone number per twitter account. And rather oddly within 24 hours of my setting that up I had about eight PPI/nuisance phone calls. Not that I am implying that twitter sold my details to a marketing firm or anything I am not. But it was annoying.
So we try and protect ourselves the best we can but we often are just one patch to slow or one update behind the problem. But these are the “bad guys” we can see what about the ones we can not?
My friends have for a long time commented about Google. In fact often my friends have the same issue with Google collecting data as I have with the existence of Microsoft. I must admit the personalisation of my search experience has proven more detrimental than enhanced. I now can not realistically use Google if I am logged in as myself. I have frequently changed to using incognito mode and of very late using services like DuckDuckGo. It is to me rather perverse that a feature supposedly designed to make the search results more meaningful but in reality is just optimising my adverts (or so I suspect) has now lead me to leave Google search in a direct form. It is called being bubbled or something like that.
Don’t get me wrong I did obviously go to Yahoo until I spotted that was powered by Bing and that is Microsoft so I stopped using them. I have moved to Firefox for about 50% of all my browsing. Be that phone/tab/computer. Even Firefox annoys me as I can not escape Google. It is so convoluted a procedure to make another search engine the default one in the app that after 2 hours of searching and modifying things via about:config I gave up. I have of course got DuckDuckGo installed. There are probably more and better services like this. I like the fact my search is done of https and the results will be dropped off the system in hours not 90 days later (as in the case of a normal Google search). Not because I fear about being spied upon but I know that the next time I do a search it will not be polluted by the previous one. I will have entropy in my searches.
Did I mention I have now all but given up with twitter as well? This general fear has now turned into a constant annoyance. I am growing more and more tired of G+ and Twitter finding it harder and harder to interact with these systems to extract the meaning I perhaps once convinced myself was there. I have tried to find relevant and meaningful ways of using my internet time. I think with little success. I still have three unfinished blog posts to do and yet here I am writing this post instead? Of course I digress I always do. I am also tired now of applying for jobs. I have zero feedback which of course makes me think that my email is no longer working. That perhaps on some server out there are all my congratulations here are a job emails. Or worse still in some Spamassassin storage space they are all stuck there being treated as spam not ham.
So I have started to take note of the BJ’s advice regarding the internet. The big brother I invited into my life has sadly tried and failed to make my life more meaningful. The technology distorts but fails to enhance and all the while it tells me how secure it is.
Where is this all going and when will it stop?
I’ve said many times I would happily have a chip in my hand/arm with NFC tech. That I could get rid of my wallet and cards. Even my passport! That I could use to open my door, login to my computer and phone. I haven’t got one of course. Someone instantly said what if someone else got that information. It happens for passports, credit cards everything nearly. This is true what would happen? I would still willingly try it though. Even though of late in the UK it has transpired that the new swipe payment system has been picking up cards in purses (people often use a purse or wallet to hide their pin entry) and ironically doing two transactions. In some cases the cards have been 0.5 m away from the terminal and the owner was not aware that the card even had “cardless” or “swipe tech”.
I don’t have a meaningful ending to this blog. I just find myself fearing the worst for everything, for Google, for my phone, for Dad’s phone for all the technology because we are never going to be secure, unhackable as long as people want to. And as long as we are willing to sell our soul for free email and instant messaging then perhaps we will have to realise that if our search results are never different and our adverts perfectly matched we know why.
Where are the comments?
You can not leave a comment anymore sorry, why? Well of course in allowing comments I created yet another place on the web for spam to grow and build, pustulating into rotten space filling crap. So I have turned them all off. No more, I say, no more - not that anyone actually did but that is a different issue.