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If It’s Smart, It’s Vulnerable

If It’s Smart, It’s Vulnerable PDF

Author: Mikko Hypponen

Publisher: Wiley


Publish Date: August 2, 2022

ISBN-10: 1119895189

Pages: 288

File Type: PDF

Language: English

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Book Preface

The Internet is both a familiar, comfortable place and a bot-tomless rabbit hole you can lose yourself in. From its inception, the Internet has always been like. The difference now is that the scale and consequences are almost immeasurable, and it tests the limits of human imagination. When you look into the mirror of the Internet, what you see reflected back depends on what you are looking for. It has become largely a reflection of yourself.
If you are a businessperson, you might see endless opportu-nities, new markets, new supply chain efficiency, new ways to market a product or collaborate with designers you would never have had access to before. You would think about the costs, the risks of doing business online, what regulations you would need to abide by, and the financial rewards.
If you have an inquisitive mind, you may see endless research opportunities, different perspectives to consider, online debates to have, and meaningful places to contribute your efforts. You can do this no matter your race, ethnicity, gender, age, orienta-tion, or religion. Such freedom!
Policy makers see a new domain that needs oversight and regulation that would shape the Internet into a reflection of their governments’ values and ideals. Governments see not only a way to communicate and collaborate with their citizens but also a new way to spy on each other. No need for James Bond; instead remotely break in and read their email to see if they are violating a treaty or planning an attack. Conspiracy theories thrive next to scientific research and fan- fiction sites, and criminals see a lower risk way to make money through theft or extortion— no need to expose yourself physically.
What’s going on?
It has been said that in the 1700s the highest calling was the government, and it attracted the best and brightest. The 1800s saw the industrial revolution, and the 1900s attracted the best minds to Wall Street. Today it is the Internet and related indus-tries that have the creative, financial, and emotional energy. How long will this phase last before people move on to genetics, nanotechnology, or even space?
The early days of the Internet were about building stuff: infrastructure such as networks and undersea cables to physically connect the servers. Next, it was bigger data centers, faster mobile technologies, and algorithms to try to understand and predict consumers.
By building better infrastructure, the creation of massive, global platforms became possible. Whole new business models were possible! Previously impossible global population tracking and influence campaigns were possible! This is the era when the Internet truly became pervasive enough to be a global good— and a global hazard. We are now in the age of Internet conse-quence, where what happens impacts billions of people a day and influences how nations behave, and there is little accountability.
One thing has become clear: Internet problems have become global problems, frequently larger than what a company or coun-try can manage. It is now clear that these global problems require a global response. Trying to take down a botnet? Create rules for a social media platform? Set standards for the next generation of technology? All require participation in international forums and coordination in new ways from companies and governments but also from civil society, academics, researchers, and users who have to live with the world we have created. We need to bring together not just the builders and the regulators but every-one involved.
The Internet I describe is constantly evolving, connecting. There is a gravity, a sort of invisible hand, that is organizing the Internet to be more optimized, complex, fragile, centralized, and attractive to regulation. There is the trade- off between efficiency and resiliency, and efficiency almost always wins because it is more cost-efficient. But efficiency is not always what is best for a society. The consequences have become so great it is now appar-ent that governments have a legitimate interest in what happens online, and regulation invariably follows unchecked innovation.
It is up to us, those who understand the technology, for the sake of the generations that will inherit the Internet, to work toward better policy outcomes, fair and transparent algorithms, and inclusive and accountable environments.

Jeff Moss is the founder of the
Black Hat and DEF CON conferences.

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