When we surf the internet, the last things we think about are how safe we are and whether or not we are putting ourselves at risk. Behind a computer screen, we are overcome with a sense of invincibility. A feeling that behind the computer screen we can anything. Unfortunately, the internet is far from safe.
Technology is advancing at an unrelenting rate pace and now, more than ever, there is a plethora of private information in the archives of the World Wide Web. This sort of information is like liquid gold for hackers, criminals and even other nations. Information from the internet can present valuable intelligence and if it falls into the wrong hands, it can lead to disaster. The most recent internet security scare that has companies frantic for a fix is the vulnerability dubbed the Heartbleed Bug, a threat to both individuals and businesses alike.
Some of you may be questioning the severity of such a leak. You might be thinking that that the NSA can already find out anything they want about everything or you may be wondering why you should care considering you have nothing to hide. The Heartbleed Bug is an error in the very common OpenSSL encryption software. This type of software is what protects web users’ usernames, passwords, documents and other important information. So, when you were signing into your email, Twitter, Instagram, etc., chances are that some of your information has been compromised. To some of you reading, this is meaningless. You can care less about your privacy so long as no harm comes to you. To me, however, this is a testament to how in today’s day and age, we can no longer live lives of privacy.
People like to say the world is getting smaller with the advancement of technology and they are right. I cannot remember a time in which my cousins who live in India were just a Skype call or instant message away. Communication across the globe has become as simple and almost as intimate as face to face conversation. It is great how we now have anyone at our fingertips, but, when can we draw the line as to how small the world can get. This Heartbleed incident is just the latest example of how the boundaries of privacy are being crossed. No matter how you try to hide yourself, disguise yourself, or even abstain yourself, you can be traced. The photos you post on social media websites are forever ingrained in the seemingly infinite fabrics of the internet. The OpenSSL software was supposed to protect users from spyware and hackers, and for while it did do so effectively. The error proves its futility. In essence, it proves the futility of today’s privacy deprived world.
Should we be scared of this software bug? Well, I wouldn’t panic as it is being dealt with by OpenSSL and the companies that use the codes. Nonetheless, we should take some time to look at this sort of incident and wonder why we spend so much of our time, money and information on the Internet. Whatever happened to actually talking to a business partner, or sending real letters? What happened to people actually asking what you did this weekend without actually knowing beforehand by means of social media? The saddest part of this all is that even though I am writing this, I cannot remember I time when we weren’t connected by technology 24/7. We need to start acting like humans again. We need to interact, be social without the aid of media, and with that I leave you.