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LanceLetter - Digital Insurrection; At Risk Infrastructure; GameStop Down

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LanceLetter

February 15 · Issue #217 · View online

Stuff that matters.


If you know what day it is, you get a cookie

The look of someone who knows what day it is
The look of someone who knows what day it is
Digital insurrection
What is most striking to me about last week’s Trump Impeachment Trial (the unprecedented second, in which Trump was acquitted –again) is not just the violence and heartbreaking terror of the congresspeople and law enforcement valiantly trying to hold the insurrectionists back, it’s the digital documentation.
As CNN noted, no terror attack has even been so thoroughly documented, and much of it was by the terrorists themselves. They carried in their geolocated smartphones and then live streamed, filmed, tweeted, and later shared a video on Parler.
There can be no question of what happened on January 6 because virtually every minute is “on tape.” Aside from the mind-boggling actions of the insurrectionists, one must wonder how they thought this would all play out. Imagine committing a crime, even a petty one, and live streaming it or sharing the spoils of the illicit action on social media in real time. We’d call you the world’s stupidest criminal.
In a way, though, the combination of an incited hoard, ready access to pocketable technology, and the deeply ingrained habit of sharing everything you do online created this singular moment.
I don’t know what this means other than, no one can deny the facts. They are all there in ones and zeros and streamed in real-time, which left no possibility of digital manipulations.
It’s real. It happened. It’s awful
Our at-risk water supplies
The cyber-attack on an Oldsmar, Florida, water-treatment facility should be deeply unsettling to anyone who drinks water. Exactly. Everyone should be freaking out. The modernization of water management and, more recently, remote management necessitated by COVID-19 have made these systems, especially ones in smaller towns, prime targets for hackers.
Authorities still don’t know who’s behind the failed attack but it’s a reminder that we can’t build smart systems with easy-to-use remote controls without rock-solid security surrounding them. That a hacker was able to access this system (more than once in a day, it seems) is evidence that they may not have required a virtual private network for access.
Even with that, hackers are good are getting around these systems simply by spear-phishing someone within the facility and then stealing their login credentials (including those for a VPN).
My point is, we need a better plan for protecting our increasingly digital infrastructure. I’m hoping the Biden administration is thinking about this. I know that Cybersecurity was baked into the $1.9B COIVD Relief bill, but who knows how long that will take to make it through Congress and to Biden’s desk.
In the meantime. those working at the water, sewer, electrical, dams, communication, and other critical infrastructure jobs need to take extra care with their communications and be watchful, as one Florida worker was, for any strange activity on the network.
GameStop aftermath
What goes up, must come down. After reaching highs of almost $350 per share, GameStop’s Reddit-fueled run fizzled and the big sell-off began. This was not unexpected and the long-term impact on GameStop’s struggling business is unclear. What is clear is that there’s a new stock market power player in town and he lives in his parent’s basement (as well as other normal places where hedge market managers and stockbrokers generally do not live).
WallStreetBets, RobinHood, Public, and other retail stock market players will likely do this again and again, picking struggling businesses and propelling their stocks to dizzying heights while frustrating and even bankrupting shorters. It’s almost fun to watch, as long as no one gets hurt. And it’s still not clear that everyone, mainly the little guy, comes out unscathed.
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