Most people would think that they were living the screens that they look at from day to day when they hear those words. Have you ever imagined that you would be hearing of hacking one day and phishing the next? Did you even know what phishing was before the Google Docs fiasco? If you knew what phishing was before that incident, good for you. If you didn’t, at least you can say you were not alone. Today’s world is getting more technologically savvy as we move on, and the hackers are getting smarter in turn. What else could go wrong?
Let’s talk about the hacking
There is no way anyone does not know what hacking means. The act has been linked to so many negatives that it is almost laughable.
Just last year, some parties raised concerns that the US elections had been hacked. The move felt desperate at the time because many people were opposed to the winning party. Those allegations were easy to dismiss as desperate attempts to gain power. Nothing wrong with that. However, think back to how you felt when you thought those elections were hacked. How did you feel? Violated? Disbelieving? Any number of variations of the two emotions? That is the danger of hacking. It makes you start questioning things even if there is no doubt about it.
Hacking also some other negatives to it. For one, it causes a lot of suspicions. When the US elections were allegedly hacked, those who were for the notion started looking around. The elections had been tampered with, they said, so who did it? The speculation to the answers to this question brought a lot of friction with it. Suddenly the US was looking at nations like Russia and wondering whether their neighbor had had anything to do with the supposed hacking. Russia was not taking kindly to the rumors, so there was a lot of suspicion between the two nations.
Some types of hacking are illegal, and they carry sentences with them. An example is a corporate espionage. Hiring a hacker to dig up a competitor’s data is not only wrong but could land you in jail.
There are a lot of reasons why people hack or get hacked. For some people hacking is a hobby. They just like the challenge of being keyboard warriors. For others, it’s a job. They hack, they steal information, and they get paid. Some hack to make statements. For example, the infamous Russian hacking group that allegedly released President Macron’s personal campaign emails. The group might have wanted to influence the election. The documents they hacked and leaked were not incriminating in the least however so it’s more probable that they wanted to prove that they could do it.
Hacks could target anything from personal emails to medical records and personal financial data.
Look at Phishing
You may not have heard of phishing before Google happened but you know what it is by now. Phishing gets its name from its homonym fishing. When you go fishing, what’s the one thing that you always carry? Apart from the rod, you’ll use? You carry bait. Bait is what entices the fish to swim toward you, what helps you make a catch. Phishing works on the same principle. For bait, people who conduct phishing use falsified emails. These emails look like they are from legit companies. The email usually has a link to it. Any user who clicks on the link is immediately ‘hooked.’ That is, the moment you access the false website or data, a hacker can access your records. This information may include passwords and credit card information.
Hackers who go phishing can clean out your bank account or scam anyone you know on social media using your profile. That is what makes phishing so dangerous. You could end up in jail (if there’s some identity theft and a criminal activity involved), or broke if your account is hacked. And phishing emails look so legitimate that you may not easily differentiate between them and the real emails.
Can it get any worse?
Hacking and phishing are just two of many cyber crimes. These two create conflicts and lead to loss of funds. The funds may be lost if you are scammed and spend money looking for the hackers or if your account is accessed and you are robbed. But is that the worst that can happen?
The effects of hacking and other cyber crimes are immense especially when it comes to tech companies. A hacker could take control of an automated car and steal it or cause an accident. Accidents have casualties. Military technology could be stolen by hacker sand sold to extremist groups. It’s been known to happen. Pharmaceutical companies could collapse if they are hacked, and their proprietary data leaked the same way Macron’s emails were leaked. The worst part is, new forms of cybercrime could emerge.
Modern technology is always being developed. Companies are talking about AI technologies and chip implants to help in human functionality. Machines are being used in surgeries and in exploration and discovery. Robotics looks like the new face of research and industrialization. The more technology advances, the more people come to rely on it. Would you know how to communicate over long distances without using your phone or PC? How good would your work be without the editing tools of today’s software? All these functions are performed today by technology. What happens when you can’t trust technology because it is vulnerable to hacking? And in future, will hackers be able to do more with technology than access information and disrupt a few functions?
At present, there are more questions than answers about the future of technology. Nobody knows its capabilities for sure, just like no one completely understands the complexity of the human body. People must be aware that as they celebrate advancements in technology, they should also fear its potential uses. In the past, you could not access a person’s history and a nation’s weaponry at the push of a button; now some people can. As technology is developed, its potential for destruction increases.