Is All Lost?

Today is inauguration day in the USA. As I traveled to many countries late last year I was amazed at how joyous people of many cultures were that Obama is to be President of the USA.

Working in the security field, we see a lot of disappointment. Sometimes it seems that there is no hope of catching up to the bad guys. In reality, cybercrime is simply crime, and computers and the Internet are simply the tool du jour. We have never eradicated crime in the history of civilization, but we keep trying, and in some areas we make significant progress, while in other areas, be it geographical, technical, or social, we have a lot of work to do.

Many years ago I read a book called “Black Like Me”, written by John Howard Griffin and published in 1961. The book recounted the travels and experiences of a white man who colored his skin so that he appeared to be black, and then he wrote of how he was treated differently. If you like history, sociology, or psychology, I highly recommend this book. The point really is that in the US, we have gone from such widespread sociological acceptance of inhuman discrimination based upon the color of one’s skin to electing and inaugurating (shortly) a black president.

Cybercrime is a social problem. To have made such significant progress on a social problem (racism) with such deep roots, in such a relatively short period of time really gives hope for our fight against a myriad of social problems.

Will we eradicate cybercrime? No, of course not. We have not eradicated most types of crime, and certainly there is still racism in the US and throughout the world. Can we make progress? Yes, we can!!!

Randy Abrams
Director of Technical Education

Author , ESET

  • Hi.
    Two things that hook into your post.

    I know a black musician, Johnny Mars, who lives in the UK now. He’s told me of his exploits as a musician in a mixed-race band touring the US in the sixties & seventies. He said that depending on what part of town it was, they’d send a black guy in to get the hamburgers or a white woman, say, when they stopped somewhere for food. Whichever it was, ALL the rest with the different coloured skin had to remain completely hidden in the back of the van or else, they’d all get killed if anyone spotted them.

    So yes, things have really and wonderfully moved on..

    Secondly, it’s true that there’s always been crime and always will be. The problem, in fact the greatest danger, is the erosion of our freedoms in a mindless pursuit of “the criminals” of whatever flavour.
    In a post on my site, I included this quote below from Ken Macdonald, the former director of the DPP in the UK. I’ll repeat it here as it has real relevance to the inauguration, the hopes of millions, the attainment and the maintenance of freedom. It’s also highly relevant to people like yourselves, immersed in computer security who may be asked by “the state” to help with a particular problem:

    “The tendency of the state to seek ever more powers of surveillance over its citizens may be driven by protective zeal. But the notion of total security is a paranoid fantasy which would destroy everything that makes living worthwhile. We must avoid surrendering our freedom as autonomous human beings to such an ugly future. We should make judgments that are compatible with our status as free people.”

    So total security, like the absolute elimination of crime, is another side of the same coin. Obama’s speech echoed this when he said:
    “As for our common defence, we reject as false the choice between our safety and our ideals…and we will not give them up for expedience’s sake.”

    So progress? Yes we can!

  • Huge challenge to globally confront cybercrime. I’m optimistic it can be done.

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