Are you ready for WWI(Web War I)?
When my Orcom 152 professor started asking our opinions on what could be the implications of Wikinomics1 to Orcom practice, I found myself listening closely to what my classmates are saying. After all, this is my favorite part of the class, integration and synthesis of how the day’s lecture is relevant to Orcom. As always, their answers never fail to make me say, “how come I never thought about that” and occasionally, I found myself nodding in complete agreement. But it also made me think, Out of the thousand and one brilliant advantages of wikinomics and the internet phenomenon, there must be some scary disadvantages as well. Everything has two sides, right? Except some things that do have several dimensions, which is not the point of this post. I was meaning to recite and voice out that Wikinomics made me realize that as Orcom practitioners, we should also be aware of the future problems that may arise from this phenomenon and start coming up with possible solutions even before these possible problems appear. I was really pondering what could these possible problems be. The class ended and I sadly concluded that I am not yet ready for the real world since I haven’t yet come up with any idea of what these possible problems might be.
As I was walking home I came upon a dvd of Star Wars. Aah, Science fiction. Technology causing chaos and then war.
I suddenly remembered a magazine interview I read recently, wherein Neil Gaiman aptly said ,“The job of science fiction is always to predict and always to imagine and always to be wrong. So whatever we assume will happen won’t—or it won’t happen like that.”
Yes, science fiction exaggerates. There could never be cyberwar. People will find ways to advance technology without exploring the darker possibilities of the power it can provide. I would very much like to think that way. But what if, in retrospect, you suddenly realize that cyberwar has just began?
Since the phenomenon of Wikinomics became possible thru the World Wide Web, we might as well look into the flaws threatening the bigger picture.
Things you might need to know
Eighteen years ago, at the height of the Cold War, an explosion happened in Siberia. And what’s interesting about this explosion is that, it was caused by a malfunction in the computer-control system that Soviet spies have stolen from a firm in Canada; and, unknown to the Soviets, it exploded because the CIA has tampered with the software. Aha, hacking at its finest.
Before you dismiss this as part of historical speculations, let us look at more recent incidents of “cyberattacks” .
In 2008, as Russian troops advanced across Georgia’s territory, a handful of websites in Georgia became unavailable, which the Russian government simply dismissed as a coincidence. A perfect coincidence, don’t you think? Very similar to what happened to Estonia’s web service in 2007 , wherein there was a denial-of-service attack on Estonian government, media and bank web servers that was allegedly caused by the decision to move a Soviet-era war memorial in central Tallinn.
In January this year, Google threatened to pull out from China after hackers had stolen intellectual property and sought access to the Gmail accounts of human rights activists. What’s interesting is that, the company said that after thorough investigation they discovered that the attack originated from China.
Please do not accuse me of scaremongering
Right now, you might be thinking that these horrors are reserved for first-world countries, emerging competitors of first world countries, the government and the military. But before you dismiss this issue as something that won’t affect you, you may have to consider that most hackers nowadays are willing to participate in what could be the start of cyberwars(i.e. hacking private accounts such as email accounts and social networking accounts). Yes dear reader, your facebook account and twitter account may be in grave danger.
I daresay that people should be aware of the ever increasing influence of social media in their lives. There has been a rapid population boom in the new social media ‘countries’ all around the world, making them easier targets for cyber criminals and power hungry bureaucrats. As more people lead ‘real lives’ and conduct business in the virtual world, cyberattacks are now deemed as the newest threats to society. Since there are still no established rules and international laws in the cyber world, the best possible solution could be keeping track of our use of the internet so as not to be entangled too much and trapped in our virtual realities. Also popularly known as balancing your virtual and ‘real’ life. And it is not as easy as 123. What about companies who rely on the internet and social media for their operations? Are we to go back to our traditional ways of business and communication( and life, at that)?Should we abandon Wikinomics and forget about our laptops and computers?
Honestly, I do not know the best way to address these (increasing) incidents of cyber attacks. What I do know is that, there should be thorough discussions and debates regarding this matter so as to come up with possible solutions to address questions and issues that these cyber attacks bring.
Can you tell me your insights dear reader?
- Wikinomics- the new art and science of mass collaboration and peer production to produce goods and services(i.e.Wikipedia, Linux, etc.)