Crime and concepts

This is real time authorship so I’ll wish you all a Happy New Year.

I will let you into a tiny secret as long as you promise not to tell the editor. The January article you may have just read was actually written last December. Therefore the year has just started for me but as always there is the good news and the bad news.

I left you with the worrying news that a major data base had been hacked and some millions of individuals had enough of their personal information stolen to make the matter more than serious. The bad news is that these attacks have multiplied and we now have some 70 million odd additional stolen records. The first victim was Adobe who may not be all that familiar to most readers. However we now also have Target.

In mid January, Target said that names, mailing addresses, phone numbers and email addresses for up to 70 million people were also stolen along with payment card data. The latest round of bad news for Target customers comes as the retailer continues to investigate the loss off previously disclosed payment card data. Target first disclosed the data breach affecting 40 million consumers in mid-December. They are also forecasting a 2.5% profit loss due to this. A small number until you realise how big their bottom line is. Ouch!

According to the retailer, the latest disclosure doesn’t represent a new breach but was revealed as part of its first investigation. But the story does not stop there. Do you also have a LinkedIn, eHarmony or account? These are popular web sites and more widely used. All of these services were also compromised, so you should check them too. But how?

Well, the good news is that the developers of the excellent security software, LastPass, have set up a search site to cater for those who suspect, or perhaps do not even know if it were possible, that their data may be compromised.

Start with You will find links to the other domains at the bottom of that page.

The search tool set up by LastPass is simple and provides all the guidance you will need. I hope you are luckier than I was. I discovered that two of my email addresses were compromised and quickly changed my password for these. The frightening issue for me was that one of my email addresses has been used for most of my Internet transactions for a very long time and goodness alone knows what things I have forgotten over the years and should now urgently attend to.

In case you are wondering, I have deliberately avoided inclusion of Facebook and the likes of Twitter. These services have been dealt with in earlier articles yet continue to be susceptible to such attacks.
On a brighter note our technological tomorrow looks exciting. I will now change tack and give you a small insight into the future as displayed at the Las Vegas Electronics Exhibition. It is quite clear that our manufacturers of all the gadgets and gizmos we cherish in our lives today all see the future to be wearable technology.

A material, call it a cloth, was displayed as a health monitor. Make a garment out of it and the various sensors woven into the cloth would advise you of your various body parameters controlling your well being. Temperature, blood pressure and pulse rate followed by the suggestion that it would be possible to predict the onset of a heart attack and thereby possibly give you advance warning of such an event. I do wonder whether medical insurance will cover the cost of such garments?

I am sure that by now you have caught up with the various curved TV screens but the one item which has not received very much publicity is the next computer. To me it is the real pointer to the future. Can you believe that it is similar in size to a SIM card? Yes I know; what about the screen and keyboard? Obviously speech and the now ubiquitous smartphone will certainly play a large part in the scheme of things. That health smart shirt you will be wearing will certainly tell you about its findings via the phone. Yup! Another app but one that may even call your doctor or an ambulance.

The smart watches we have seen in recent times will finally become more acceptable in size, design and functionality and with the aid of the new mini computer will , once again, provide all the interfacing with our phones we can possibly wish for.

You may well ask what all this has to do with the Internet? After all that is what I am supposed to write about. The answer, dear friends, is that even right now I access my office computer from anywhere in the world via my phone or tablet which interconnect through the web. I really do use this method. I might have a bright idea about the web site I am currently working on. Rather than lose that brilliant thought whilst out of the house I connect to my desk top and make the design modifications there and then. Brilliant! Earning a dollar while spending two.

There is little doubt that we are heading towards wearable technology although, if I choose to be a tad sceptical, I can see many speed bumps in the way of that progress. But who would have thought computers could shrink to such a small size?

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