I like to write about the intersection between security and networks/open source/wikinomics/super-empowered individuals/etc., so this is one of the most interesting stories I’ve seen in a long time: Iraqi and Afghan insurgents are hacking and accessing Predator video feeds using a $25.95 off-the-shelf software program. Read the full article here and some analysishere.
This is what modern war is becoming. Just like in the business world (as I discussed in my review of Cory Doctorow’s “Makes” this morning), the winners will be those who can innovate faster than their rivals.
How should we respond when the bad guys get inside our networks? I don’t know anything about UAV data transmissions, but I think we should pay attention to the battles over hardware and Digital Rights Management (DRM) that some corporations are waging with their customers.
The WRONG answer is to spend millions of dollars and years of time creating a platform that is supposedly uncrackable, then sit back and congratulate ourselves. In a few weeks or months, some 17 year old kid in his garage will crack it… just as they’ve cracked iPhones, Playstations, X-Boxes, cell phones, and now Nooks. We also don’t want to lock down data so tight that it hurts our “customers”: the people who use the technology. The music industry just about destroyed itself by suing, alienating, and enraging its customers instead of adapting to a totally new kind of market. Electronic Arts created a DRM system for its game “Spore” that was so invasive, customers savaged the game in reviews and ran it into the ground. And oh, by the way, the pirates still cracked the DRM in a few days.
The better answer is to realize that we’re in a long term competition with multiple players. Every move we make will result in a countermove. We are in a long-term competition of innovation and adaption. We should expect the cracks, adapt, and coolly play our next move.