Superintelligence

A very interesting write-up of a talk given on superintelligence. The article is quite good in that it walks smartly through the reasoning that there is concern about artificial intelligence does have the real possibility to be a problem for mankind in the future. This is a well-reasoned approach on how to think about why this is possible. If you accept the stated ideas one-by-one, then the conclusion is a real possibility.  Most interesting.

Been Gone for a While

There is just so much going on.

Corporate stupidity on a huge scale is rampant where decisions are being made for the short-term that do not reflect the realities of the long-term.

Where leaders are ignoring the facts and instead focusing on their narrative or their story or their view of how things ‘ought to be’ instead of reality.

Where people are clinging to their positions despite facts and realities that do not align with their viewpoints or positions.

Look, we need to listen and think about the ideas we are hearing the positions that people are taking.

Corporate directors or trustees need to think and not just listen to the narrative of the ‘trusted’ executives.

All of us need to think more about the good of all instead of the good of us individually.

Trust but verify.

Complexity of our Devices

I’ve been thinking lately that our devices are getting so complex that we no longer are sure about how to manage, secure or protect them.

My wife’s phone recently went nuts and started flashing the LED for alerts but that setting was not turned on under settings. Another friend’s phone started acting strangely and randomly and the vendor ended up giving him a new device. His phone was an iPhone 6 which is awfully old to be getting a free exchanged unit. My wife’s Apple Watch battery/system was so poor that the battery ran down every day mid-afternoon with everything turned off. She had to charge it twice a day. Apple support said it was within specifications. Right.

Our home networks are vulnerable and we don’t even know what we need to do to harden. Apple TV can support multiple streaming sources, but nothing is simple and they each authenticate differently. We have devices to open our garage doors with who knows what security. What about our cars?

Apple and Steve Jobs used to talk about removing and simplifying. Matthew May writes about subtracting and eloquence in his books (well worth the read).

Unfortunately, companies continue to make things more complicated.

Our ice maker has a light to remind us to clean the filter. I have no idea how to clean the filter.

Securing our Assets

pabloI’ve about reached the point in believing that we have no chance in securing our personal information technology assets (home network, computer, mobile phone, tablet) etc.

There are simple steps we can all take to secure our equipment and network, but they are likely just not enough. I’ve done several communications sessions with family and friends and others to discuss how they can best protect their equipment. I wrote about that on my security page.  I just keep reading about more risks, threats and how organized those who want in are and what capabilities they are bringing to bear to get access where they don’t belong.

Is it time to start disconnecting more? Should we have a computer at home that only occasionally is connected to the network, even if that helps at all? Updates now require network connections so it is almost unavoidable.

Keep all the firmware and software up-to-date on all our devices and that requires network connectivity again. But are all these updates secure, tested and safe? Of course they aren’t all safe. We are unsafe with the flaws in our existing devices and we are unsafe with the updates that add more flaws or new flaws. What to do?

Maybe a simple mobile phone that only does calls and text messages? But that can be hijacked and listened to as 60 minutes has told us.

All our technology (Watch, tablet, laptops, Kindle, Apple TV, Netflix, etc.) require network connectivity. What to do?

What about our parents and friends who are not that computer literate?

I want to watch Stranger Things on Netflix and that requires a lot of technology on my end be up-to-date and working. What to do?

 

Compromised Email

A friend of mine had his security compromised a few days ago when someone managed to steal some information from him and cause further damage. He called and wanted to know things he should do.

I told him to assume his home computer, or all of them, was compromised and I encouraged him to use a different platform (a chromebook in this case) to start resetting his passwords and revalidating his information. Leave his likely compromised home computer alone for a while. Turn it off.

He started down this path and then re-logged into his email account (gmail in this case) and changed the password.

I wasn’t with him at this time but a few minutes it occurred to me that he ought to look at the filters or rules that he had put in place to process his email so I sent him that message. I don’t know why I thought of this as I don’t recall thinking of it or reading about this before, but I just thought he ought to look at his filters. He looked.

Someone, had put a filter in place to block certain inbound emails and send them elsewhere.

So, his email had been compromised and the perpetrators had been clever enough to put filter rules in place to further hide the compromise as long as possible. Amazing. I had never considered this before and I’m still thinking about its implications.

If you get your email or computer compromised, you really need to start over on a new platform and then methodically regain control of your accounts. And, turn on two-factor authentication wherever you can.

Be careful out there.