Week 5 News Digest

AT&T texts can be faked to hack you


In case of an emergency or any case that requires it, AT&T sends out mass text to all of their subscribers. This can range anywhere from an Amber Alert, or a Data Usage Alert. The problem here is that the way that AT&T send messages is that they do it very simply and very easy to mimic. On the link above there is a picture that depicts an authentic AT&T message from AT&T, and a fake one that someone made up. They almost look identical. The reason that this can be dangerous is that people can hack into your phone and get various different information that they can use against you. This in the end can be very destructive to many people.


The 3 places where Facebook censors you the most


Facebook is notoriously known as the social media site where everybody visits. Almost every country who has access to the internet have Facebook accounts. One of Facebooks big policies is they are supporters of freedom of speech, which is why they have a problem in countries such as India, Pakistan, and Turkey. All of these countries require Facebook to monitor its country’s people’s post, and take down anti-government post, or anything offensive towards government officials. The problem here is that people generally don’t want to be monitored and these countries take away their freedom of speech by requiring Facebook to monitor every single post that is posted.


Insurance giant Anthem hit by massive data breach


With the recent hack of Target, Home Depot, an Ebay, another company can be added to the list of people who have been hacked and people’s personal information stolen. Anthem Insurance, the second largest medical insurance company in the world, was recently hacked and the result of the hack was the compromising of 80 million of people’s information. Among this information: birthdays, social security numbers, income information, and email and street addresses of many of Anthem’s customers. With the specific information stolen, it is very dangerous for the people who had information about them stolen because the harm that can come out of the information stolen is great.


Why should we trust the Sony PlayStation Network ever again?


Sony in recent years just are unlucky in the department of hacking. There have been many instances where people, or agencies have hacked into the network and shut it down for a period of time. The worst one was back in 2011 when the network was shut down for a month and millions of subscriber’s information and credit card information was stolen. Then there was the Sony Pictures hack by North Korea over the movie “The Interview” a couple months ago. The most recent hack was Super Bowl Sunday, February 1st, the network was hacked and was shut down for about six hours. Many loyal customers of the Play Station have considered, if not already, leaving the network and going to Microsoft because their network is more secure and not nearly as often as Sony’s.

The cost of doing business in China: Spying


Relations between the US and China have been stained for a very long time, especially since Snowden released the information that the US were spying on Chinese government officials. Recent events have led China to make regulations on any foreign company’s technology that is used inside the country. They require now that companies make their technology less secure and easier to hack into, I find this very funny because why can they get better hackers?  Some US companies tried to get the Chinese government to reconsider the restrictions but nothing has come of it yet. So ultimately, China just wants it easier to spy on American technology and have power and control over what they do in their own country.

Movie vs. Reality. Can movie surveillance actually happen?

“Remember, remember the fifth of November.” A very famous quote from a movie where a totalitarian government rules futuristic London, and its people are watched at every second. V for Vendetta is a depiction of what could possibly happen if the government tried to monitor ordinary civilians’ every day life. The movie begins as a young women, Evey, is caught on the streets after curfew by policemen. These policemen mean to rape the young women and do her great harm. She is saved in the final moment by the anti-hero V.

Once Evey has been introduced to V, V takes Evey to see the fireworks that he has set up for the evening. Most certainly the fireworks were present on that night, but they were accompanied by the explosive demolition of the government’s courthouses. Evey goes home and tries to forget the whole incident. Little did she know that V would play a major role in her life. The next thing the government knows, V is on every single television in London calling for a rebellion on the next year’s fifth of November.

Over the course of a year, V begins his rebellion. As he builds his mutiny, he follows through on many personal vendettas against high authority figures in the government. On the fifth of November, the day V said the rebellion would take place, thousands of civilians show up to show their support of V. The movie ends, I apologize for the spoiler, with an explosion of the parliament building as a symbol of detest for the government’s totalitarian control.

All of this could have been easily avoided if the government didn’t keep a tight hold on the people. The biggest thing I think that the government did to the people was constantly lie to them. This country only had one news source and that news source came directly from the government. This means that the authorities controlled everything the people knew. When V demolished the courthouse building, the government told the people that the explosion with the fireworks was a planned demolition, with fireworks to send the building off with a bang.

The constant lies from the government was only the beginning. The government had patrol vehicles that would drive through neighborhoods and were able to record what was being said by the occupants in the houses. The fabricated news from the government was also a big issue that contributed greatly to the distrust the citizens had towards the government.

The non-stop surveillance of the government, in my opinion, did more harm than it did good. I understand that government wants to keep its people in line, and keep them safe. But there comes a point when there is just too much surveillance. There comes a point where the people can’t or won’t even speak their minds without the fear of being punished. There comes a point when the people will fight the power when they have had enough. with many revolutions in history, the fighting doesn’t start with the shot heard around the world. It gradually grows just like in V for Vendetta.

When the government started the habit of lying to the people to keep them in line, I think this is where things started to go downhill. With the constant surveillance on everyone, it was very difficult for anyone to do anything about the tyrannical government bearing down over them. The film continually showed the leader of this fictitious country as Big Brother and using all of his tools at his disposal to monitor his people. He used these devices for a very malicious cause to keep an eye over his people. He utilized these devices to rule his people with fear, and as we all know that never turns out well.

On both sides of this issue of surveillance, surveillance is helpful to both the people who are being surveyed and the people doing the surveillance. They both gain by having the safety of knowing that they’re trying to catch bad people meaning to do the country harm. On the other hand, the civilians’ privacy is all but gone. So the government has to choose either to hide their surveillance from the people, or openly admit to monitoring them at all times. I think more often than not, governments choose to hide their surveillance activity and eventually that activity gets exposed to the open public.

When we look at the reality of V for Vendetta, I think that the whole movie’s surveillance aspect is quite possible. We are already seeing forms of surveillance that we couldn’t have dreamed of 20 years ago, and I am afraid of what surveillance might be capable of becoming 20 years from now. The result from the surveillance of these people from London I think is very possible even today. The complete revolution because of the constant surveillance and lies that are always being told. If a government is treating its people unfairly the people will retaliate. In the words of V: “People should not be afraid of their governments, governments should be afraid of their people.” All in all, I think that the surveillance depicted in V for Vendetta was very harmful to both the government and the people, and could quite possibly happen in today’s world.