People place way too much trust in technology. We see that time and time again as phishing attacks and rogue security programs proliferate. Identity theft can be one of the more extreme results of believing a computer that told you the email came from a friend, but another technology can cause death if you trust it inappropriately.
Tom Knudson, writing for the Sacramento Bee tells of ‘Death by GPS’ in Desert. This should not come as a shock, but sometimes a GPS unit does not get it right. Although satellite sounds pretty sophisticated, the entire system still is run using software that fallible humans have written.
Whenever you rely upon technology to solve a problem it is a good idea to ask yourself what you will do if the technology fails you. If you are relying upon a TV set to entertain you and it fails, you have a mind, you can entertain yourself. If you are relying upon a GPS to get you through a dangerous desert, you should be prepared for anything from incorrect information to the device simply breaking and have a solid “Plan B”.
Interestingly one of the GPS manufacturers mentioned in the article has shipped an infected GPS system in the past.
Director of Technical Education
Cyber Threat Analysis Center
ESET North America
Author ESET Research, ESET