Wednesday, December 26, 2007

How Vulnerable Are We?

I was just at our local Walmart and I was fortunate that I was not using a gift card. It seems that their entire gift card system is down and can't be used at the moment. The cashier said that it was nation-wide, though I am skeptical of that as there is no reference to it on the news. I guess it's possible.

It started me thinking though. We are very dependent on a network of computers for so many things. We use them for entertainment, communication, news, business, shopping, creativity etc and yet the system is vulnerable. I have multiple shields defending my system yet still get that occasional bit of spyware, or even more rarely, a virus.

A computer savvy lunatic with a bit of determination and the right information could do serious damage to this country, even bring it to a standstill. I am not saying it would be easy or is going to happen tomorrow, but it is a possibility that cannot be ignored. Also other countries are studying our net and you can be sure that some of them would like to find weaknesses that can be exploited. This would probably be cheaper, and in a way more devastating than most Weapons of Mass Destruction.

I generally disdain giving the Feds more power or responsibility, but this might be an area where they may have a legitimate job to do. Perhaps an agency whose sole purpose is to probe the net for weaknesses and plug them, as well as track down viruses, spyware, and other dangerous programs that could, theoretically, be a major threat to our country.

3 Comments:

Blogger benning said...

On Black Friday the "special" sales items could only be keyed into the registers once the computers in Bentonville, AR decided they could. And they didn't wake until 6AM that morning. Wal-Mart registers would not accept the items until an hour after the East Coast stores had been open (5AM at mine). I don't think the MSM reported that. And Corporate said not a word until the mess was finished.

Wouldn't the NSA be doing precisely that, Shoprat?

7:50 AM  
Blogger Gayle said...

Your cashier person was wrong, Shoprat. I went shopping at Wal Mart on December 26 and had no trouble using a gift card. I bought myself a new Black & Decker four-piece toaster with it.

A belated "Merry Christmas" to you and yours, and may your New Year be blessed!

10:16 AM  
Blogger ChrisA said...

I heard there were problems here with them too.

11:35 AM  

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