Donald Trump correctly claimed “No computer is safe.” He then went on to espouse the virtues of delivering important messages by courier and talking up his knowledge of cyber security, saying “I know a lot about hacking.” He further argued that “Hacking is a hard thing to prove.”
I’ll agree with him that no computer is safe. And then I’ll promptly stop agreeing with him.
Every computer can be hacked. But every courier can be compromised, physically or through bribing or spying. And misinformation can be spread via every email or tweet, whether compromised or not. And death and danger and destruction lurks around every corner. Just ask your mom.
Once again, the President-Elect has told us nothing new. He’s only affirmed the obvious and stoked the fears of those who don’t know the details of the topic because their jobs in life don’t require them to.
This is not the time time to be Luddite, This is not the time to retreat from the technological advances the last two decades have brought us. We are significantly better at protecting computers from cyber attack than we were twenty years ago. We are far more sophisticated at identifying and investigating breaches of computer systems than we were even five years ago. And we are so much better at being able to identify hackers and stop them and pursue them than we we used to be. The hackers have definitely upped their game. But so have we.
Is any computer 100% safe and secure. No. Is anything?
It’s a sad time for our country. We have elected a leader who denies the science of climate change and the science of computing equally flippantly. He claims to know so much about hacking with the same authority and confidence that inspires him to allege that climate change is a Chinese-made hoax. I’ve given up trying to figure out whether it is ignorance or an amazing political knack for stoking fear and making his subjects take reflexively to the fetal position that drives him. It’s irrelevant.
What matters is that we call out nonsense like this at every turn and never stop. Don’t settle for ignorance. Call it out. Dispute it. Work against it. Vote to defeat it.