GUEST REVIEWER – Surly Joe
a member of any of the bands of English workers who destroyed machinery, especially in cotton and woolen mills, that they believed was threatening their jobs (1811–16).
– a person opposed to increased industrialization or new technology.
“a small-minded Luddite resisting progress”
- Title: Future Crimes, Everything Is Connected, Everyone Is Vulnerable, and What We Can Do About It
- Author: Marc Goodman
- ISBN: 0385539002 (ISBN13: 9780385539005)
- Series: Stand Alone
- Published: Published February 24th 2015 by Doubleday
- Genre/s: Non-fiction/Science Technology
SYNOPSIS – (From Goodreads) Technological advances have benefited our world in immeasurable ways, but there is an ominous flip side. Criminals are often the earliest, and most innovative, adopters of technology, and modern times have led to modern crimes. Today’s criminals are stealing identities, draining online bank accounts, and erasing computer servers. It’s disturbingly easy to activate baby monitors to spy on families, to hack pacemakers to deliver a lethal jolt of electricity, and to analyze a person’s social media activity to determine the best time for a home invasion.
Meanwhile, 3D printers produce AK-47s, terrorists can download the recipe for the Ebola virus, and drug cartels are building drones. This is just the beginning of a tsunami of technological threats. In Future Crimes, Marc Goodman rips opens his database of hundreds of real cases to give readers front-row access to these impending perils. Reading like a sci-fi thriller, but based in startling fact, Future Crimes raises tough questions about the expanding role of technology in our lives. The book is a call to action for better security measures worldwide, but most importantly it will empower readers to protect themselves against looming technological threats before it’s too late.
“There is a gathering storm before us. The technological bedrock on which we are building the future of humanity is deeply unstable and like a house of cards can come crashing down at any moment. It’s time to build greater resiliency into our global information grid in order to avoid a colossal system crash. If we are to survive the progress offered by our technologies and enjoy their abundant bounty, we must first develop adaptive mechanisms of security that can match or exceed the exponential pace of the threats before us. There’s no time to lose.”
― Marc Goodman, Future Crimes: Everything Is Connected, Everyone Is Vulnerable, and What We Can Do About It
If you are a Luddite, if you are a technophobe, then reading Future Crimes will further convince you that you’re right. Stay away from technology as much as possible – it will ultimately destroy you. If you’re a conspiracy theorist, Future Crimes will further convince you that you’re right too. Technology and its masters are watching and manipulating your every move, privacy is nonexistent, you cannot escape.
In just under four hundred well-researched, albeit somewhat repetitive pages, security expert and former FBI and Interpol official Marc Goodman explores his thesis: “currently in our world there is no such thing as trustworthy computing”. If it is connected, it is vulnerable. Despite the fact that he calls himself “irrationally optimistic”, he claims that “a horde of emerging threats…will be here much more quickly than anticipated”, coming from hackers, cyber-criminals and terrorists, and the examples he provides are staggering. Facebook has supposedly admitted that more than 600,000 of their accounts are compromised daily. McAfee claims that “82% of Android apps track your online activities”. A study by Verizon concluded that hackers are successful 75% of the time, usually within minutes. And it doesn’t seem to be too difficult. In 2013, personal data from 110 million Target customers was stolen, “apparently masterminded by a seventeen year-old Russian”.
Making the situation worse, according to Goodman, is that we are easy targets, oblivious to the threats around us. Facebook may be a victim of daily hacking, but, at the same time, they seem to also have their own dark side, evidenced by their Terms of Service which gives them the right “to turn on your mobile phone’s camera at any time without your consent”. The internet, with all its “free” services, is only free because every search we do, every website we visit, is tracked, saved, documented, and then the data is sold to brokers and marketers. And the internet we know isn’t the only internet. It’s just the public one. Deep in the digital underground is the “Dark Web”, only accessible through software that hides identity. It is supposedly “five-hundred times larger than the surface Web, unreachable by search engines like Google and Yahoo”. This is where terrorists and criminals go to source anything and everything illicit. Recently, a “dark” site called Silk Road was identified and shut down by the FBI. It was essentially an Amazon for criminality, peddling weapons, child pornography, hit-men and drugs and earning millions of dollars per year.
Only after 350 pages does Future Crimes begin to hint at Goodman’s “irrational optimism”. It’s not very encouraging. We can combat the potential impending doom. Be smart, change your passwords frequently, don’t open files you don’t recognize, encourage governments to spend more on cyber security, turn your devices off when you don’t need them. In other words, it appears it’s up to us to make the best of it. So when the machines take over and the energy and water grids are hacked and there’s no way to get money out of the ATM’s, I’m choosing to keep my pen and paper. I may be hungry and cold and poor, but at least I’ll be able to write about it.
About the Author
Marc Goodman is a global strategist, author and consultant focused on the disruptive impact of advancing technologies on security, business andinternational affairs. Over the past twenty years, he has built his expertise in next generation security threats such as cyber crime, cyber terrorism and information warfare working with organizations such as Interpol, the United Nations, NATO, the Los Angeles Police Department and the U.S. Government. Marc frequently advises industry leaders, security executives and global policy makers on transnational cyber risk and intelligence and has operated in nearly seventy countries around the world.
In addition, Marc founded the Future Crimes Institute to inspire and educate others on the security and risk implications of newly emerging technologies. Marc also serves as the Global Security Advisor and Chair for Policy and Law at Silicon Valley’s Singularity University, a NASA and Google sponsored educational venture dedicated to using advanced science and technology to address humanity’s grand challenges. Marc’s current areas of research include the security implications of exponential technologies such as robotics, artificial intelligence, the social data revolution, synthetic biology, virtual worlds, genomics, ubiquitous computing and location-based services.
In his own words – Surly Joe is a moderately nondescript Toronto-based white guy who spends too much time contemplating the nature of boredom. His aspirations waver between wanting to be either a professional gambler or a Zen monk, with a touch of writing on the side. After completing university with a degree in a subject that does not readily lead to any sort of viable employment, he wandered through Europe and Northern Africa for a while collecting stories and useless trivia, circumstance led to a career back in Toronto. He now spends his money on food, friends, wine and annual trips to Las Vegas.