“We can’t stop the hacking.” That’s the current situation according to cyber security consultant and engineer Jesse Lee, speaking at a book signing for Open Source last month in McKinney, Texas. “We’re at full on Security Operations Center with complete situational awareness, and we still can’t stop the hacking. What are we going to do when shirts become hackable?”
In addition to being a cyber security engineer, Jesse also describes himself as a hacking hobbyist and techno enthusiast. When I asked him to speak at Cyber Night on the Square (held on Jan. 23rd in historic downtown McKinney at Snug on the Square), he graciously agreed.
Taking the packed coffeehouse on a tour of what’s happened in cyber over the last century, Jesse explained that from a hacked auditorium projector in 1903, to the Stuxnet worm in 2011 and continued into the high profile breaches we have today, we still can’t stop the hacking.
The bottom line is that we’re going to see increased surveillance and biometrics because heightened control over cyber will be the only way to hold hackers accountable.
“In the name of good we must know everything everywhere and have control over it so that everyone will behave goodly—we must be omniscient, omnipotent, and omnipresent.” Jesse cited the World Bank’s call for a universal ID system as an example, a story I know well from my research for Open Source. “And in the name of good, we must enhance the human existence.”
Such enhancement is already happening in our very own metroplex. Early this year, one week before the Open Source release, the Dallas Observer published this story: “Body Hackers and Bioengineers are trying to make DFW a Hub of Implantable Electronics.”
“Dallas is at the center of two movements that are each trying to bring implants to the mainstream. Tattoo artists and technophiles head one, and well-heeled university neurologists and medical device engineers form the vanguard of the other.” (Dallas Observer, Jan. 5, 2016).
So what can we do now—as citizens and families—to prepare for this upcoming brave new digital world?
Jesse offers these suggestions: 1) Be aware, 2) Be watchful, 3) Be careful, 4) If you are a believer—be prayerful, 5) Don’t join every new thing, 6) Don’t post everything, and 7) Fast from electronics frequently.
I don’t know about you, but I’d rather some of these more invasive technologies remain confined to fiction where warped writers like myself can wreak all kinds of havoc without real-world consequences. Unfortunately, it looks like our global culture is headed full steam ahead.
(Sounds like a good time to be a cyberpunk…but that’s another topic for a different blog post. Stay tuned…)
Photos by Talitha Eicher, Wonderfully Made Memories Photography.
Special thanks to Snug on the Square, McKinney, Texas.