The Sony hack is probably a lead indicator that many more similar hacks will occur in the near future, not all of them involving the theft of items like credit card numbers.
IT and security in general tend to be low priorities at most companies. Normal users just assume that their communications are reasonably secure, even when they’re being transmitted in the clear, and can be intercepted by anyone with the desire to do so.
Computers are, in general, more powerful than the people who use them quite understand. We’ve put supercomputers into the hands of people who have no idea how they work (and I increasingly have to put myself in this category), and unsurprisingly, those same people wind up shocked when more savvy people gain access to their machines without their permission.
The financial system is especially vulnerable to hackers, and has been repeatedly targeted, in part because all that’s necessary to authorize a financial transaction is a series of numbers along with some associated text information, a lot of which can be grabbed from publicly accessible sources.
This, and some other recent events, lead me to conclude that the internet has expanded beyond the ability of the network users to secure it.
Whenever this happens, criminals force a correction, and then the focus of productive actors must be to re-secure the network. This notably occurred during the bursting of the first internet bubble, as security concerns demolished the credibility of banner advertisements. Only the developers at Google were able to credibly tackle the click fraud problem, and make the internet industry more credible to investors again.
This time, it’s more likely to be the alternative financial system, represented by Bitcoin, which takes the pro-security position. My argument used to be similar to Moldbug’s (it’s actually, I think, what introduced me to Moldbug properly), in that I thought the US government would just kill everyone that it has to kill, and jail the rest, to prevent the growth in cryptocurrency.
Because the US has failed to kill, torture, and imprison with as much aggression as it would need to in order to prevent the growth of cryptocurrency, my conclusion also has to change: it must be the new growth area, because the US lacks the cold-bloodedness and tenacity that it would otherwise need in order to keep its system together.
If I were them, I would kill (physically shoot) every bitcoin user that I could find. Because they’re either stupid or corrupt, they’re not doing this, and because they’re not doing this, they’ve signed a death warrant for their employers. Fine with me.
This post should have included a hat-tip to Nick Szabo’s recent post on the topic of trustless computing.
So does that mean YOU are now using Bitcoin or not? I’m awfully tempted myself.
Yes. I don’t accept donations, though.
If I can figure out a way to accept bitcoin for books without breaking an agreement with Kindle Direct Publishers, I’ll do that.
Brett Stevens says
I like the new font. Good article too.
Thanks. Big serif fonts are the style now (and there are some good reasons for it), so I went with Fenix since it’s an open font.
It looks bad at small sizes on bad monitors, but looks great at larger sizes.
I like the radish-esque theme, it’s suitable. If you figure out how to sell books for BTC, I’ll buy.
That part’s easy; I just want to use KDP Select’s special features for exclusively selling on Amazon, while also accepting bitcoin.
The compromise will probably be encouraging people to buy Amazon cards at Gyft. Not ideal, but meh.
Peter Blood says
It looks like I’m reading “A Child’s First Big Book of Neo-Reaction”.
The font looks terrible in Firefox, good in Chrome and IE.
Can you take a screenshot of what you’re seeing and post it to imgur? It looks the same to me in my version of Firefox.
Peter Blood says
Hmm, it looks fine on my Firefox at work. Must be something on my end at home (video card, etc.).
Try clearing the cache — it’s an open font, so typically there aren’t issues. It’s also implemented on this theme in a cludgy way, and when I switch to a different one, I’ll implement it in a cleaner fashion.
Peter Blood says
I cleared cache…nothing. I updated video drivers, rebooted…fixed. I figured it must’ve been related to the hardware-accelerated rendering Firefox does.
Only problem is, last time I updated, the monitor would go into power save mode and would never come back.
Interesting bug. ATI or Nvidia?
Peter Blood says
AMD (was ATI).
The font is just a matter of personal taste. Generally, people prefer familiarity. Serif fonts date back to classical Rome, so that goes for them, automatically. I like Handel Gothic Light D, personally. It looks quirky, but is readable regardless of size.
It’s because of the shape of stylus and the range of hand movement over a wax tablet, isn’t it?
I always thought moldbug’s view on bitcoin was just wrong. He says “The USG will shut it down” will no plausible “how”. Its more likely that they CAN’T kill bitcoin even if they wanted to. By the time bitcoin even pinged the radar of anyone of influence in the USG, its user base was probably too global and too entrenched for them to kill it. Even if they manage to somehow make possessing cryptographic code illegal or kill nerds within their own borders, it doesn’t make a difference when its all over china and russia. Are they going to start a worldwide torture and killing spree over bitcoin and could they even get away with it without those governments intervening? Doubtful. Its not that USG lacked the tenacity, they’ve just been completely impotent to bitcoin all along. Short of assassinating Nick Szabo in 2005, the USG really never had a chance here.
Then again I’m biased in favor of bitcoin because I was an early-ish adopter, but its tough to pick a dog here based on character. Pro-bitcoin has a lot of autisitic libertarian nerds, Anti-bitcoin has smug haters who are ignorant to the econ and tech. Start a bitcoin conversation IRL and chances are I’m going to hate everybody.
Right. If I were them I would do a nerd-stallnacht, because that’d what it’d take. Instead, they just sorta let it happen.