Are we living “Digitally Vicarious”? It seems that relevance is achieved through multiple online profiles with many of our friends, family, and colleagues only knowing us through our electronic selves. We spend too much time managing our virtual existence rather than our physical one, and nearly always at the cost of what makes us human. Living online should only be complimentary rather than seen as a replacement. It becomes all too easy to hide behind avatars and projected perfection when the true beauty of life is the self with the electronic noise filtered. Experience life in analogue, not in digital.
With the news that Apple no longer supports upgrades on the iPhone 5, we are reminded of forced obsolescence. At one time, you could use a product as long as it worked, often decades of faithful service. Appliances that lasted 20 years with maintenance are replaced by models that rarely last beyond 5. Limited warranties cover a year or so; expensive extended plans cover even less. We are forced to update costly electronics every few years when vendors discontinue support. The fear of vulnerable, unsupported operating systems drives the market. At least we can recycle them; just do so securely.
At one time, business promotion was through physical signage. Next came The Yellow Pages, websites, and now you must have a social media presence and be mobile-friendly. You are forced to differentiate and convince clients to spend their money with you. Unlike physical sign replacement, protection of your online presence is critical to success. When was the last time you checked the security of your social media presence? Promotion is important but one must not advertise the exposure of sensitive data. Use strong multi-factor authentication and review your privacy settings every time these sites and applications are updated and change.
Recently, a new cyber threat known as “Fireball” has surfaced. While perhaps not malware in the traditional sense we expect, the potential threat is immense when leveraged maliciously. Fireball seemingly manipulates the victim computer in the interest of generating ad revenue but these modifications, while annoying, may lead to far more sinister behaviour in the future leveraging backdoors. Imagine the potential personal and corporate data harvesting and capability of launching large-scale attacks. Immediately seek and remove freeware on personal and business computers, conduct thorough threat scans, and block network traffic to the known command and control servers as a start.