10 of 13Image
Hacks and data breaches are all too commonplace
A decade ago, hackers were mostly unseen. They were occasionally glamorized in the movies, but they were often few and far between in terms of numbers. They were not as popular as they were today, where almost anyone can be with the tools available on the darkest corners of the Web.
Hackers have exploded in numbers. Attacks are taking place all the time. Almost indiscriminate in nature, your cloud-stored data is at risk every minute of the day. With lax security and poor IT policies, millions of people's data last year alone was swiped by the unauthorized. Data breaches are becoming increasingly commonplace. For a time last year, it seemed as though there was a hack every week.
And once hackers began to target the financial industry and credit card institutions, what was once the safest thing (bar the economy tipping over and sinking every few years) was reduced to a humble, bumbling mess.
Image: Rick Broida/CNET
Silicon Valley: The rich just get richer
Ten years ago we were at the height of the financial markets. Our respective Western nations were rich. Economies were stable. At least, so we thought. The 2008 global recession saw how fragile we were. In the space of just a few months, the Western banking system came close to utter collapse.
The vast majority of technology companies, which were considered relatively stable in terms of investments, struggled but powered through the heart of the financial meltdown. As the ordinary folk on the street began to penny pinch and save as much as they could — when they could — despite soaring prices and life expenses, the richer got even richer, and Silicon Valley giants just got bigger and bigger.
Google hit the breakthrough $1,000 per share price mark, while Apple has a market value of around half-a-trillion dollars. Microsoft, despite its strategy shift to devices and services in recent years, remains a cluster bomb of billion dollar businesses. And what do we get out of it? Sure, we'll get the shiny new product and business-powering services, but who's going to pay for our healthcare or pensions?
With Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Flickr, and dozens of other mainstream sharing services on the Web, we know far, far too much about almost everyone in our lives. The youth of today with smartphones in their pockets are snapping almost every photo, tweeting every incidental thing, sharing on Facebook their hates and gripes, and frankly their older, more mature counterparts aren't that much better.
The National Security Agency doesn't to spend billions of dollars from a "black budget" on high-tech surveillance systems. Half the time they just need to hit "friend", "subscribe", or "follow" on our various feeds. The culture we find ourselves in today has morphed to such a point that the very notion of privacy has become diluted. Goodness knows what will happen when teenagers will graduate from school and attempt to gain employment, when their "hidden" resumes are only a cursory Google search away.
Image: Google/stock image