Is Technology Creating New Conflicts All Over The World?

Marshall McLuhan, a philosopher, once suggested that the medium is the message. This means that the technology used to send a message is more important than the message itself, at least from a cultural perspective.

The Dangers of Television According to McLuhan

For instance, McLuhan was very much against the medium of television.

“Marshall McLuhan explaining how the “one-liner” is symptomatic of the shortened attention-span of children. It’s all to do with television, which McLuhan claims, has a negative effect on the nervous system.”

According to McLuhan, the fact that television delivers pixelated images would lead to people unconsciously joining themselves onto the television itself, developing an addiction and becoming homogenized by it. In simpler terms, the many movies such as Tron, where people “enter” the televised world, is precisely what McLuhan was afraid of. But more specifically, he felt that humans would start to naturally resist this, and to do so by becoming more tribal. This, in turn, would lead to greater geopolitical conflicts as people suddenly want to assert their nationalistic identities again. He felt a perfect example of this was the Cold War, which some people believe was made so bad because television told people how dangerous it was.

How McLuhan’s Concept May Apply to New Technology

Interestingly, McLuhan died long before the emergence of Google, Apple, Amazon, and Facebook. He died before he could see just how threatening new technology can be. Just as McLuhan had feared, improvements in technology do not encourage self-expression and individuality, but rather obliterate and ruin them.

It is said that, today, the most valuable currency is insight into behaviors. This is seen by the amount of attention that companies like Google, Amazon, and Facebook are pouring into gaining a greater understanding of their users. Facebook, for instance, is developing technology to literally read your mind.

“Dugan says Facebook’s goal is to develop something it calls a “brain click – a way to complete tasks in augmented reality using your mind. You could brain click to dismiss a notification that popped up on your AR glasses, for example. Researchers at Building 8, who have teamed up with medical institutions around the country, want to turn the brain into an input device, starting with letting people type with their thoughts.”

If that isn’t frightening enough, a lot of research has also been conducted on other, more personal impacts experienced as a result of the increase in availability of advanced technology. People are literally addicted to their smartphones and spend every waking moment on social media. Images of people no longer looking at each other, but looking at a screen instead, are seen everywhere. It is an addiction and one that is socially acceptable. Then, there is the fact that people measure their worth through social media. They constantly share everything that they do with the world, hoping for “likes” and “retweets” to demonstrate that they are worthy. It is now known that there is a link between social media usage and mental illness, in fact.

“Research has shown that young adults with a strong Facebook presence were more likely to exhibit narcissistic antisocial behavior; while excessive use of social media was found to be strongly linked to underachievement at school.”

There is a biological process within human beings that stops them from fully integrating into an outside force, including technology. People must, for whatever reason, retain their free will. Once this starts to be chipped away at, they respond. And it seems that McLuhan’s observations were right in suggesting that this response is usually an increase in tribal conflict. A quick look around the world – Brexit, the election of Donald Trump, the Catalonian protests – and it seems that there is indeed an increasing incidence of worldwide conflicts.

Can We End DDoS Attacks With Blockchain Technology?

A DDoS (Distributed Denial of Service) is a type of cyber attack in which websites are rendered unusable because it is flooded with requests from many different devices at the same time. This can do catastrophic damages to business.

What Cyber Criminals Can Get

Cyber criminals, meanwhile, love the opportunities that DDoS attacks give them. In fact, a DDoS attacks can generate multiple sources of income for hackers.

“DDoS attacks are often used as leverage for blackmail. Once a hacking group has a reputation for being able to field a large and dangerous botnet to knock servers offline, they can demand huge ‘protection’ payments from businesses afraid of facing their wrath. In fact, they don’t even have to do the hacking in the first place.”

Technology to Protect Against DdoS Attacks

Unsurprisingly, a lot of technologies are being developed to help businesses avoid DDoS attacks. However, in this cat and mouse game that is played on the internet, any new protection that is put in place will soon get destroyed by hackers. Meanwhile, it is important to note that a DDoS attack has an Achilles heel, which is that it requires a lot of processing power and bandwidth to be able to provide the huge traffic required to bring down a website. A DDoS attack is usually launched from a machine that is controlled through malware, making it nearly impossible to trace. DDoS protection companies open point to this difficulty as a reason for not being able to deliver the protection they promised, just like when Akamai failed to protect the website of Brian Krebs.

“Akamai said so-called “booter” or “stresser” DDoS-for-hire services that sell attacks capable of knocking Web sites offline continue to account for a large portion of the attack traffic in mega attacks. According to Akamai, most of the traffic from those mega attacks in Q3 2016 were thanks to Mirai – the now open-source malware family that was used to coordinate the attack on this site in September and a separate assault against infrastructure provider Dyn in October.”

Emergence of Blockchain Technology

Fortunately, it now seems that there might be a solution to these problems, and that this solution lies in blockchain technology. Blockchain is perhaps best known for running cryptocurrencies and also for creating systems like Ethereum. All of these are said to be almost incorruptible. One company that believes that this type of technology could be used to prevent DDoS attacks is Gladius, which is based in Maryland.

“DDoS attacks are becoming an increasing reality of operating a business with an online presence. These attacks can cost an incredible amount of money, not just in lost uptime, but also a loss in consumer trust and crisis PR. Gladius is the decentralized solution to protecting against DDoS attacks by allowing you to connect to protection pools near you to provide better protection and accelerate your content. With an easy to use interface as well as powerful insight tools, Gladius enables anyone to protect and accelerate their website.”

Gladius, however, is only a startup company, and this means that they will have some significant challenges to overcome. Obviously, it is too early to tell whether their system will ultimately be successful. One of the greatest challenges they will have to overcome, ironically, is making sure that DDoS hackers do not get hold of the machines used to protect against DDoS and use it to stage an attack instead.

As technology advances, both attackers and defenders have to change the way they operate. It is likely that this particular cat and mouse game will be an endless one. For as long as humans have been around, crime has been around as well and this is unlikely to ever change. All that we can try to do is stay ahead of the game.