by Gray Graham
How safe are you online? Not very safe at all. If you are a techie or a die-hard Playstation gamer then you are aware that Sony's computer systems were completely taken down. They not only took down the PlayStation Network, but completely crippled all of their online services. Customer information including addresses, personal profiles, and credit card information was compromised. There are reports that this group plans to also take down Sony's websites.
Now you may wonder why all of this is happening. It is not a simple case of theft, it is one of ideology. Sony earlier made a concerted effort to legally take down a guy that wanted to modify a PS3 system he bought to do other things and share that information with the world. Sony did not like that so they went to rather extreme efforts to shut him down, including taking possession of his computer systems and everyone that had visited his website.
Does that scare you? Apple did the same thing when the iPhone 4 was stolen and a story was written about it. They used their legal muscle to attack a blog/news media site just like this one, and have them treated like a criminal. There is a going trend for the super mega corporations to attack individuals and smaller companies in court when they disagree with them exercising rights and their activities. This is a product of our legal system and the power this companies control.
Since governments around the world have been slow or even completely ignore this growing trend, many have decided to band together to attack these companies where it hurts, in their profits. I am sure their goal is to get people to agree with their position and “revolt” against these companies.
I personally don't see that ever happening. I would say it is fair to say that most people either agree with the position of the companies or think it is too “nerdy” to modify your systems. Does the average person care that the iPhone/iPad does not give you the ability to add any programs you want or modify the system? Does the average person care they can not play PS2 games on their PS3?
I know that the open source community loves the idea of people sharing knowledge with people that can not afford to spend hundreds of dollars on hardware and software, but in our consumer got to have the latest greatest gadget status symbol society, that is not what motivates the average person. This is a fight that the independent thinkers will lose today.
So you ask yourself what can I do to protect myself if my information is taken, the short answer is nothing. Even if you never open a malicious email, click on a video of a hot chick on facebook, or give your information to a Nigerian bank that wants to send you winnings from the Canadian lottery, you are still at great risk because the companies that you deal with are not as security as they should be and not even as secure as you think. Companies have been very lax in spending the money and time necessary to develop secure systems. Instead of doing the work they should, they have been telling people to create more elaborate passwords that doing nothing to protect your information.
It seems like this battle on this new frontier is just getting started and who knows if there will be a winner in the end. For all we know this could be the beginning of Skynet or the Matrix. Chose sides carefully.