With the latest insights into American whistleblower Edward Snowden from WIRED’s exclusive interview and photo shoot, more love and hate continues to pour from the people of the world, yet the fact of the forever changed cyber world cannot be understated.
The Internet and the cyber world are ever evolving, and their path has been undertaken, in part at least, from Ed Snowden’s revelations.
In the United States, in particular, many citizens are faced with a dilemma: did the member of America’s most secretive security organization just hurt us, the people, by exposing things that are necessary to make us safe; or did this whistleblower just expose myriad human rights, digital rights and acts violations that their coming to light has made the world and all of its people, including US citizens far safer.
I may not be the one to answer this, but I am going to do the best I can to raise the debate.
Internet security companies, anti-virus software outfits (AVIRA is one Tom's Guides Top Free Antivirus for Mac and AVAST is a great, free program for personal use on PC and Mac), and media forces like Google and Facebook have never been so busy adding security.
As an author for various news outlets, my experience largely stems from writing my entire life and nothing more. I have borne witness to many extraordinary things in my short life and numerous terrible things as well.
For my newest fiction novel, Cyberwar, I have undertaken years of research into cyber security, political demonstrations across the world, cyber warfare, hactivism (involving hackers and associations like Anonymous), and emerging technologies in the fields of robotics and virtual computing (DARPA is a large source).
Though I would admit I am by no means an authority on any of these subjects, I feel that certain research, interpretations, and perspectives of the cyber world at large can be useful to you, the reader, as you traverse the ever laden technology revolution currently shaping our earth.
And safety for yourself, whether in the public eye or online is truly of ever-increasing importance.
My immediate perspective is that the debate may go on for decades, but the Internet is a thousand times safer now than it was before Mr. Snowden went public.
This seems so strong a point that it is, for me, undeniable.
The amount of articles, books like Glenn Greenwald’s No Place to Hide: Edward Snowden, the NSA, and the U.S. Surveillance State, informationals, infographics, and videos on the subjects of encryption, cyber security – from avoiding identify theft to eliminating advertisers, organizations, and governments from stalking your every breath – and privacy has been increased exponentially.
More people are researching how to be safe in a digital world.
For anyone in the media in particular, or all the folks that are just curious about digital rights, Freedom Of The Press Foundation notes many great resources to help individuals keep their online safety and privacy, including the following guides:
Guides & Training | Start protecting your security and privacy in the age of mass surveillance with how-to guides and resources. [https://freedom.press/training/]
One basic Google Search can yield so many useful articles on how to protect one’s self from having your bank, credit card, or personal information stolen or abused:
· NSA surveillance: A guide to staying secure - The Guardian
· Internet security: 10 ways to keep your personal data safe...
· Encryption Works: How to Protect Your Privacy in the Age of ...
· How Google, Yahoo, Microsoft, and Facebook Are Creating a Safer Internet
The simple advance of bigger Yahoo-type companies to implement HTTPS security onto web access, after years of resistance, is huge as it makes viewing emails or sites for the average surfer infinitely safer.
Ed Snowden gave the push that the corporate powers needed to adhere to the public outcry for safety.
Without the whistle being blown, the cyber criminals and black hats that seize valuable information and assets to make a living (often in countries with struggling economies) could have easily ensnared millions of more people.
Read the rest of this article on CyberwarSeries.com here
It seems the character Sheetrock wants to speak his mind, despite the book not being out yet. Well I have too much respect for the man to deny his simple request, so here is an exclusive excerpt from Cyberwar where the humble miner nicknamed "Sheetrock" gets to loose his mind.
I hope you enjoy it.
Some people have a song constantly playing in their head. Sheetrock was one of these, and he knew it. The young drill captain figured the smart people fed their soul with music every day, because one: Jesus loved music, and two: rolling down the river of audio helped keep the record from skipping. Whereas those that despised the music echoing in their brains, scoffed openly of it, and resisted it to the extreme, those people often got jarred into the realms of insanity. They beat on the player Jesus had given them and as a result their records did, on occasion, skip.
No matter the near-death run, the loss of his colleague and lover, or the freezing cold downpour, the David Byrne horns in his head blared on, and he welcomed the beauty of the earth, grimy as he was treading the soaked wooden dock. He whistled while his cargo unloaded, weighed, and purchased. It had taken all of an hour; it was the reason Sheetrock chose to land in Port Jeff in the first place: easy access to the scales and the buyers. Within another hour a quick sale had commenced.
With the payment transferred instantaneously upon completion of the cache transaction, Sheetrock walked swiftly with a slight limp toward the town’s bank (his knee had blown out in a ten kilometer benefit run and the rain’s moisture did it in). He had already handed each of his crew a payroll check that they knew would come into fruition once they had finished emptying the ship’s cargo hold, but he wanted to confirm with his own dark eyes that his personal account totaled twenty-eight million and change. He could finally afford to spend it all.
There was a slow methodical scraping as his muddy miner’s boots found the doormat outside the federal bank on the corner of Main Street. The heavy footwear were sealed, along with the black leathery jumpsuit that was made for rigorous activity in the oxygen deprived canals of space. He had not bothered changing. He was too eager.
At least the rain’s washed the dust off my ass, thought Sheetrock as he walked into the bright lights of the taupe room. The large man could not have looked more out of place. A mile or two up the road was the derelict sidewalks of the Station, where none of the black market shufflers would ever have looked at his unshaven face and his stained and patched up space suit and given it a second glance. In the bank, he was almost two feet taller than the shortest tellers, and they stared open mouthed as though he was the second coming of the Messiah.
There was no one in line, but Sheetrock was a slave to ritual so he entered the velvet rope lane and followed it in three snaking switchbacks before a prim, older woman with the biggest eyeglasses he had ever seen waved him over.
“Hello. I’d like to make a withdrawal-“
“Fill out the pad, sir,” she said before he could complete his sentence. He reluctantly bent and wrote sloppily on the screen with a pen that was tied to the counter and did not allow his long arms to lift it far enough to be comfortable writing in the lines.
“As for the amount . . . Rosemary,” said Sheetrock noting her nametag, “I put in for it two weeks ago, but I don’t know exactly how much is in there. I want all of it.”
“Very well, sir.”
She tilted her round head back to look him over and confirm his face with the scan she had on the screen in front of her. It was a feat that seemed a difficult one without there being any visible sign of a neck on her, and the blue eyes behind her enormous glasses bulged in the magnification as she took all of him in.
A frantic clacking of keys was heard, as she composed herself. Rosemary, the banker, seemed to be in a perpetual hurry.
“That’s the amount you have there, sir.” She pointed down toward his screen. “The supervisor’s already verified your request and approved it. Do you have a suitcase or some kind of carrier for the withdrawal?” she asked querulously.
“Jesus please be with me today,” his whisper to himself was a growl that she heard quite plainly. “I’m soaking wet and fresh off the ship. Does it look like I have a suitcase with me, Rosemary?”
“No, I don’t think so.”
“Do you have some kind of transportation case?” he asked impatiently. The round face tilted a little, like a bird’s.
“Deposit cases are available for two hundred dollars each. Are you sure you don’t want to go-”
“Listen, little lady, lord knows that twenty-eight million’s not going to fit into the envelopes you normally give me my cash in, now is it?”
* * *
Two large gray storage containers were brought in front of the counter, where Sheetrock paced. He signed for them hurriedly, and a resonant tone crackled and cut off the elevator music that had been playing. Everyone looked up, startled. A booming electronic voice took over the loudspeakers:
“THIS IS A CYBER ALERT: A 7 P.M. CURFEW IS NOW IN EFFECT UNTIL FURTHER NOTICE. PLEASE RETURN TO YOUR HOMES NOW.”
If you would like to invest in Cyberwar, get a signed hardcover, or even become a character in the series, please go to Pentian Publishing's site here.
I have turned the tide and started on my journey. Words and Worlds hang in the balance and I am writing it all down before the RJ Tower! Read about my newest novel on CyberwarSeries.com