When it comes to technology we tend to want things now, at this very moment in time. By thinking like this we do not always think of the consequences. This post touches on a few (of the many) reasons why we are too quick with technology, as well as system failure.
US PreCheck system
On Thursday, 25th Oct 2012 a BBC News article identified how frequent fliers could have posed a risk to airlines: frequent fliers could by-pass certain security procedures because technology thought they were always going to stay ‘safe’ travellers.
Furthermore, by using technology too quickly, domestic airlines learnt that their digital barcodes were unencrypted. Unencrypted barcodes are very vulnerable to unauthorised users because they are easier to hack. Unencryption basically opens up a whole program up to the internet because anyone with the skills and access to the site can potentially access the system.
Unencrypted data is basically an open invitation to intruders. It’s a bit like having a house but leaving the front door unlocked — almost anyone can break in.
Boeing and WiFi
A UK newspaper also highlighted in an article one of the most concerning system failures, in my view, because they embraced technology too quickly — boeing.
A few years ago Boeing thought they could give WiFi to their customers flying on Boeing 787. Yes, this would have been ground-breaking at the time by allowing people (a few years ago) to get internet on the move and in the sky, literally! But they soon discovered that having one single on-board network (i.e. a single system would carry the navigation, control, the internet…) could allow a passenger to hi-jack the plane from the passenger deck because they shared the same system. This meant that if someone was granted access to the internet on the 787, they could gain unauthorised access to other areas of the same network — including the navigation system.
This is a bit like allowing a stranger to use your kitchen, it wouldn’t be impossible for this same stranger to use your bathroom: they’re already in! If a passenger had the technical skill set they could gain entry to other systems, even if they were unauthorised — why didn’t they allow passengers to simply fly the plane from the cockpit!
Okay, this was caught on-time but it shows just how quick companies (and us!) are embracing technology.
Terms and conditions apply
We do it all the time, you and I. When was the last time you hit the “I Accept” button at the end of that long contract? Or do you just hit the button and use the service, hoping that you can do everything, such as authorised printing, for example. Are you really allowed to do what you do? Or is it clearly written in the terms and conditions? You know, the ones that few people, you and I (us!) actually read.
Browse safely. Think safely. Think smartly — use technology wisely. It is easy to embrace it too quickly. Doing this can harm you and I. Remember that the balance is important, right?