Countering Cyberattacks: Name and Shame and Leave

There you are, minding your business as a nation state when Iranian geeks hack the networks of hundreds of your universities, rip off more than $3 billion worth of research AND leak the latest season of Game of Thrones. If you’re Washington, you respond by issuing felony charges and financial sanctions against the Iranian hackers and…


Wait, that’s it? Surely the US has the capability to inflict significant damage on state and non-state actors alike in cyberspace. But when it comes down to it, as my pal Kevin Allison explains, it’s harder for the US to pull the cyber-trigger than you’d think.

First, there’s no Geneva Convention for cyberspace at the moment. Without global agreement on the distinction between online behavior that is merely bad and what’s truly unacceptable, it’s difficult to determine proportionality in the cyber realm. Does large scale IP theft, for example, demand the same response as hacks or disruptions of critical infrastructure?

Second, unlike, say, lobbing a few cruise missiles at an airbase, cyberattacks and counter-attacks don’t have a neat geography. If those Iranians used servers in Dubai, does striking back at them entail an attack on Iran or on the UAE? Abu Dhabi will be keenly interested in your answer.

Third, cyberattacks are tough to control with precision. If your counterattack spreads beyond its intended target, it can cause collateral damage — including to friends and allies.

So while the US certainly could inflict an awful lot of pain on the Iranians, or any other cyber-attackers, hackers, or crypto-unsavories, the reality is that in most cases doing so is a lot messier and riskier than it seems.

Technology is changing the way modern geologists locate precious resources and harness energy. With supercomputers capable of processing geophysical data from all over the world, geologists are reconstructing models of the subsoil to identify hydrocarbon deposits. The efficiency of these powerful data processors can scan massive rock formations to help laboratories analyze geological systems. While today's modern geologists still have a compass and hammer to collect samples, petaflops of computing power are changing energy research at lightning speed.

Learn more at Eniday: Energy Is A Good Story

Are e-Cigs an example of tech gone wrong?


There's a real tradeoff in e-cigarettes. To the extent that people stop smoking regular cigarettes to use e-cigarettes, that's good. To the extent that new people who wouldn't have been smokers, particularly young people, start smoking, that's bad. Now there are real societal problems and health problems and the data show that there are lots of new people starting to smoke. I don't think of it as much as a tech problem though or tech gone wrong as much as a social problem.


Moviepass has shut down. Final thoughts?


Moviepass was this insane business. You pay them ten dollars a month and then they let you see all the 2D movies you want. That was one business plan. They had about 20 business plans. It's kind of just, there lots of tech companies where the business model is: pay us a dollar and we'll pay you two dollars. And then they say to the venture capitalists: "Look we're growing. Give us more money." Of course that's going to run out.


Nostalgia. What's the next old tech about to make a resurgence?


Snapchat. A year ago, it looked like they were poached. That Instagram was just going to knock them out. And now, everybody's using Snapchat again.

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