I’d like to share with you all a scary yet eye-opening read: the full title is Future Crimes: Inside the Digital Underground and the Battle for Our Connected World, written by Marc Goodman in 2015. In the first 49 pages, I learned that

  • Antivirus used to be effective but is nowadays just an illusion of security. In December 2012, researchers at Imperva (a data security research firm) collected 82 new computer viruses and ran them against the threat-detection engines of more than 40 of the world’s largest antivirus companies, including Microsoft, Symantec, McAfee and Kaspersky Lab. The initial threat-detection rate was only 5%, meaning that 95% of malware went completely undetected.
  • According to Verizon’s 2013 Data Breach Investigations Report, most businesses have proven simply incapable of detecting when a hacker has breached their information systems. Verizon’s survey, carried out in conjunction with 3 police forces including the U.S. Secret Service, reported that on average, 62% of the intrusions against business took at least 2 months to detect. 92% of the time, when a business notices that it its information systems have been compromised, it is not the company’s security team who discovers the breach. Rather, law enforcement, an angry customer, or a contractor notifies the victim of the problem. The same study also notes that once hackers set their sights on a network, 75% of the time they can successfully penetrate its defenses within minutes.
  • Information technologies have been growing at an exponential rate, both in their effectiveness and user base. In the last five decades, thieves have gone from robbing individuals and hundreds of people at a time to stealing from thousands and now even millions of individuals. With technology, crime scales, and it scales exponentially. The Internet is now a hotbed for criminal business expansion.

My eyes are glued to the pages in this book and I am discovering just how vulnerable everyone is, putting an endless amount of information including birthdays, bank accounts, and social media profiles (our reputations) online without a single question. And, if a hacker from another country manages to steal or delete all of someone’s information, he/she would often be hard-pressed to prosecute them because criminal laws from country to country are so different, and are not up-to-date with all the tech growth that is happening.

Marc will go deeper into how we can protect ourselves in the second half of the book. Check back next week to find out more.

[Update (Jan 29): I did not manage to get to the second half of the book. That said, I did finish the first third and you can find a semi-synopsis of that here.]