Well, to be frank – not a lot. Until now.
The recent developments with Sony’s production of the Hollywood film, “The Interview” has created a lot of airtime, concern, and embarrassment, due to it being the target of hackers.
The cyber attack overall is BAD, but it does accomplish quite a number of things in my opinion that can have a positive effect.
- It shows us how truly formidable a nation as North Korea (with all its major problems) is in this realm of cyber warfare. The nation of North Korea has inserted itself onto the stage of modern technological warfare. This is something that should cause us to sit up and take notice. No doubt, as with their economy, military, and agriculture efforts, they are receiving a significant amount of help from China.
- It further shows that conventional ‘military might’ is not the ace-in-the-hole that it once was. Unless actually used, tanks, missiles, ships, bullets, and bombs are of no avail, in this warfare – they obviously were not a ‘deterrent’ as the popular phrase would indicate. Military Might does no good, from a warfare standpoint if leadership cannot ‘pull the trigger’, or push the button or flip the switch, whatever the case may be. Not that I would endorse or condemn such an act, the point is, if we put our reliance on these things then we must see that they have a very vulnerable Achilles heel – current leadership. (By current, I mean whoever is at the helm at the critical juncture.)
- As distasteful as it is, the event also shows how that corporations such as Sony, with considerable size, capability, technology, and money were neither prepared nor capable of stopping a ‘true’ cyber attack. This event will reverberate throughout the corporate and commercial world; hopefully creating a greater effort to thwart and combat such attacks.
- Also, whatever the government’s policy is on intervention into these types of corporate threats that involve national and governmental forces, they surely have proven they are capable of intervening or interfering (whichever opinion you hold) in the corporate world – think GM, Fanny Mae, Freddy Mac, TARP, the auto industry, Healthcare/Insurance. It is obvious they have no compunction about acting quickly, thoroughly, and invasively when they deem necessary. The question is why didn’t they intervene with Sony? If we truly look at North Korea as a ‘rogue’ nation potentially capable of destabilization from a federal, national, and military point of view, wouldn’t this have been a prime opportunity for a U.S. military team of cyber warriors to act? Vital data could have been protected and gathered. (i.e. tactics, vulnerabilities, launch locations, types of viruses or bugs, critical code, types of material gathered or compromised. The list is no doubt endless.) As well it could have been an opportunity to flex our muscle in this realm of the dark net – they did approve part of the movie for production. Did a federal agency offer to help and were denied by Sony due to the element of distrust, which the government has built around itself due to domestic hacking of the government’s own kind? Also, wasn’t Sony the company that was discovered to be building in ‘back door’ components into its consumer electronic products several years ago? (Ooh that hurts when the shoe is on the other foot!) Or maybe Sony felt they could handle it on their own. Either way, it is too late to explore that option now – Sony has capitulated.
- As well, the cover of the true social, racial, professional, and political views of the powers that be in Hollywood are exposed before the eyes of all again! (Though we could have guessed – think: Mel Gibson’s subsequent rant following ‘The Passion of the Christ’ release.) Evidently, Denzel Washington should suffer the role denial because he is black – according to powerful insiders. Also according to powerful insiders, unbeknownst to the rest of us, Angelina Jolie is insane or crazy or whichever. Then there are the other things that have come to out that expose the truth about people that have hidden behind a façade while taking your money. Not, that I think we should all be subject to cyber attacks or to have our personal opinions broadcast worldwide by means of hacking, but since the federal government seems to be in possession of this information anyway it hardly matters what I think about it. The fact is that we see once again that Hollywood is not near as glamorous as they portray.
- Sony’s capitulation to the hacker’s demands brings another important fact to light: Their secrets are more important than their money. Wow! First of all they have admitted they are helpless before the onslaught (not a good nor comfortable admission). Now, the engine that drives them, money, not creativity, nor artistic capability, nor freedom to express such (even with U.S. government ‘sanction’), is revealed. SECRETS! As Steven Levitt and Stephen Dubner wrote in “Freakonomics”, “informational asymmetry” is the power and economical advantage behind ‘the experts’. If this information becomes ‘symmetrical’ than they lose their advantage. This means economical. Hence the decision to eat the financial loss, protect their secrets, and fight another day. They cannot allow their ‘insider’ information to be disseminated and become symmetrical to the populace buying or watching their movies – that would hurt their sales through detrimental public opinion. I wonder what didn’t get exposed! What was the knife to their collective throats that caused them to suffer the loss of millions of dollars?
It’s a sad day in America, not that I am a fan of Sony or even a moviegoer, but this is the tip of the iceberg. The first real test of OUR freedom of expression in the new cyber war has failed! Sony sought approval for ‘controversial’ portions of its film from the United States government and got it. Evidently this wasn’t good enough.
Welcome to the ‘new world’; one where large foreign and U.S. corporations have to have the approval of Communist, oppressive, third-rate, dictatorial nations before producing a product that they don’t like. Get ready for a release by Sony of the movie that is ‘North Korea pre-approved’. Now communist, dictatorial propaganda machines have control over our media content. What is next? The Goebbels of North Korea has spoken!
Do you think that technology has made us vulnerable? I would like to hear your opinion. Some experts are saying it is only going to get MUCH worse. Please check out my book, “The Elevator”, it centers around the assertion that technology can be a two-edged sword.
Thanks for listening!