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posted by on Tuesday March 07 2017, @02:36PM   Printer-friendly [Skip to comment(s)]
from the near-future-due-today dept.

I have decided to submit a story from the hypothetical future, published by New York Magazine 9 months ago, one that I picked while browsing whatever I missed since my last visit on Schneier on security.

If you put your video-game aside, read this article, and pay attention to the left-side notes, you'll discover thingies in the near future history which you may missed when they actually happened — the election campaign was on at that time. Most of the "fictionals" depicted there actually happened; some that I was aware of, some others I wasn't (e.g. water utility hacked).

On December 4, 2017, at a little before nine in the morning, an executive at Goldman Sachs was swiping through the day's market report in the backseat of a hired SUV heading south on the West Side Highway when his car suddenly swerved to the left, throwing him against the window and pinning a sedan and its driver against the concrete median. [...] When the Goldman exec came to, his driver swore that the crash hadn't been his fault: The car had done it.

[...] A third-year resident in the emergency room at Columbia University Medical Center in Washington Heights walked through the hospital as a television was airing images from the accident on the George Washington Bridge; that meant several crash victims would soon be heading her way. When she got to her computer, she tried logging into the network to check on the patients who were already there, but she was greeted with an error message that read WE'RE NOT LOOKING FOR BITCOIN THIS TIME.

[...] One Police Plaza had just reported that it, too, was locked out of the programs it used to dispatch officers and emergency personnel, which made responding to the traffic accidents around the city that much harder.

[...] After a few phone calls to friends in the private sector, the cybersecurity chief got more nervous. At the beginning of 2017, one friend told him, she had been called to investigate a mysterious occurrence at a water-treatment plant: The valves that controlled the amount of chlorine released into the water had been opening and closing with unexplained irregularity.

[...] In the summer of 2016, the hackers received an anonymous offer of $100 million to perform a cyberattack that would debilitate a major American city. The group's members weren't much interested in death and destruction per se, so they declined their funder's request for a "Cyber 9/11." But to self-identified anarchists with a reflexively nihilistic will to power, the proposition had some appeal. Causing disruption was something that had been on their minds recently, as their conversations veered toward the problems with global capitalism, the rise of technocentrism, bitcoin, and the hubris required to nominate a man like Donald Trump.

Happy reading.

[Ed. Note: Just as a clarification: this is not fact, but a projection of something that could easily come to pass. All the pieces of this hypothetical attack are possible. Scary stuff.]


Original Submission

Related Stories

Now You Can Buy Gorgeous Furniture Made of Mushrooms 29 comments

First, designers debuted leather made from mushrooms. Now you can sit on furniture made from fungi, too. At first glance, the sturdy white stools and beautiful accent tables look like any other piece of furniture, perhaps crafted from wood or marble. But they are far from ordinary. They are made entirely from ingredients much simpler and squishier than you'd think: the mycelium "roots" of mushrooms, agriculture waste, and microorganisms.

The chic new furniture line – a collaboration between Ecovative and bioMASON, two companies that specialize in making sustainable alternatives for consumer goods using a process called biofabrication – was unveiled recently at Biofabricate 2016. "What we do that is unique is that we use biological organisms to literally grow our product," says Eben Bayer, CEO of Ecovative. "In most cases, like when you brew beer, the organism you use is thrown away at the end. But the organism is the most beautiful part. And it is part of our furniture."

The microscopic, thread-like tissue that makes up a mushroom—known as mycelium—is used to make the base of the stools and the table legs. Because mycelium naturally latches onto different substances to help mushrooms grow and form colonies, it can be coaxed into shape around a scaffolding of woodchips or hemp fibers, binding all of these components together as it grows.

Source: http://www.popsci.com/furniture-made-from-mushrooms-could-be-in-your-future


Original Submission

Soylent News = Fags by Anonymous Coward
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  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 07 2017, @02:55PM (1 child)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 07 2017, @02:55PM (#476028)

    How does this go?

    First they hacked NY City and I didn't say anything because it didn't bother me, in fact it seemed a little humorous in a macabre sort of way.
    Then they hacked smaller cities and I was still OK, and didn't take any action.
    When they shut off my power in the 'burbs I had a generator.
    But when I couldn't buy any more gas for the generator it was too late, there wasn't anyone left to speak for me...

    Or something like that??

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 07 2017, @06:15PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 07 2017, @06:15PM (#476101)

      Yaaa so anarchists don't have the same level of power that a fascist government has...

      So no, not something like that. The best way to prevent nihilistic anarchists is to make the world a better place so that such people don't want to see it burn.

  • (Score: 1, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 07 2017, @03:12PM (1 child)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 07 2017, @03:12PM (#476034)

    If you insist on a government pretending to solve problems like this, then let it be that the government defines a very simple, easily understood base standard for liability and safety guarantees, but then have competing, "private" certification organizations work to impose that standard (or a higher standard) on the various industries in question.

    When someone goofs, there should be a very clear cascade of responses to which every party involved has already agreed ahead of time.

    This will lead to a well defined and ever-improving environment for innovation that is robust but safe.

    • (Score: -1, Offtopic) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 07 2017, @03:25PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 07 2017, @03:25PM (#476038)

      Going off topic because this was on my mind briefly this morning, and I knew you'd show up at some point today.

      For vaccines, there is a fund that handles remediation in the unlikely event that a routine vaccination causes health problems or death. I believe this fund has paid out in an autism case at least once before. At any rate, this seems to be a system that's at least set up such that everybody has agreed ahead of time that there are risks and what the consequences are if the dice come up snake eyes.

      Consider also infant circumcision. Nobody has agreed to anything ahead of time. If something goes wrong, there's a possibility of a civil suit on the part of the parents to attempt to get compensated for property damage (the infant) but that's the limit.

      So in either case, if a life-altering problem happens to the infant, what is the infant's capacity to agree to any kind of contract? How will you determine whether the infant, as a grown-up, is entitled to any kind of compensation for his loss?

      We can also extend this to other cases of child sexual abuse besides circumcision. How does this work? Is there any improvement over the current system?

  • (Score: 2) by fadrian on Tuesday March 07 2017, @03:55PM (3 children)

    by fadrian (3194) on Tuesday March 07 2017, @03:55PM (#476044) Homepage

    [Ed. Note: ... All the pieces of this hypothetical attack are possible. Scary stuff.]

    Where are the criminal masterminds when you need one?

    --
    That is all.
    • (Score: 5, Interesting) by Unixnut on Tuesday March 07 2017, @04:10PM

      by Unixnut (5779) on Tuesday March 07 2017, @04:10PM (#476051)

      Where are the criminal masterminds when you need one?

      Apparently hiding in plain sight, as "loyal servants to the governments of free countries". For our "protection" of course.

      As of October 2014 the CIA was also looking at infecting the vehicle control systems used by modern cars and trucks. The purpose of such control is not specified, but it would permit the CIA to engage in nearly undetectable assassinations.

      Above from https://wikileaks.org/ciav7p1/ [wikileaks.org] , which has quite a bit of interesting hacker/security info.

    • (Score: 1, Informative) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 07 2017, @05:58PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 07 2017, @05:58PM (#476087)

      ZACKENBERG RESEARCH STATION, GREENLAND—Claiming it to be one of the most dramatic and visible signs of climate change to date, researchers said Monday that receding polar ice caps have revealed nearly 200 clandestine lairs once buried deep beneath hundreds of feet of Arctic ice.

      http://www.theonion.com/article/melting-ice-caps-expose-hundreds-of-secret-arctic--2806 [theonion.com]

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 07 2017, @06:23PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 07 2017, @06:23PM (#476106)

      They are everywhere when you draw the ire and contempt of the whole world, as trump is doing.
      Destroying amerika may become the world's hackers newest favourite past time.
      Way to go bozo!

  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 07 2017, @03:56PM (2 children)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 07 2017, @03:56PM (#476046)

    Just as a clarification: this is not fact

    Then it's fake news.

    /s

    • (Score: 4, Funny) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 07 2017, @04:32PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 07 2017, @04:32PM (#476059)

      No, it's an alternative fact. In fact, I will have been there. It will have been bad, very bad, worse than the Bowling Green Massacre. So many people will have been hurt. I called up all the best guys I could, really smart guys, very good guys like Peter and Travis, they're smart, they're the best, they're building a wall around the internet so this never will have happens again.

    • (Score: 1, Interesting) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 07 2017, @10:08PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 07 2017, @10:08PM (#476191)

      Just as a clarification: this is not fact

      Then it's fake news.

      Very [heavy.com] Fake! [youtube.com]

  • (Score: 2) by bob_super on Tuesday March 07 2017, @05:21PM (1 child)

    by bob_super (1357) on Tuesday March 07 2017, @05:21PM (#476076)

    I've been saying for a while that I'm waiting for someone to shutdown every single OnStar-equipped car, causing giant mayhem for a few days and sending GM into insta-bankruptcy.

    I have to give kudos to the GM security team, because that's a giant obvious target, and somehow it still hasn't happened.

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 08 2017, @06:58AM

      by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 08 2017, @06:58AM (#476360)

      My main concern is that , ahem, "interested parties" , are stockpiling means of disrupting operations in the event of a political disagreement with the USA that results in armed response.

      I believe these "interested parties" are highly dependent on people being ignorant of how their stuff works and will nag any Congressman that will listen to them about the importance of keeping everyone ignorant, so when all hell breaks loose, few will have the knowledge of whats going on, and those few will NOT be in the USA.

      It would have been impossible during World War II to have enemy agents come in and destroy every radio transmitter on the planet. At that time, we had so many radio amateurs that know how to build a radio transmitter that stations would be coming back on the air faster than anyone could knock them out. Now, if all of our routers one day started deliberately misrouting everything right after some nation declared war on America... imagine what that would do to our ability to "support the troops".

      Right when we need the technology, it will fail, obedient to their masters on the other side of the planet who know the instruction strings needed to awake sleeper-cell technologies, which have laid dormant for decades in routers, cellphones, computers, automobiles, even TV's.

      You would not want them to fail downright... rather fail in such a manner as to goad you into wasting as much time as possible trying to troubleshoot them. Work a little bit then malfunction again. Force the wastage as much time as possible. While we are over here masturbating with our technology, our "enemy" uses physical means of disabling the order-givers.

      We will again discover Ignorance is NOT bliss.

      Imagine all the authority figures we have today, barking orders into inoperative machines. The scope of their authority will be limited by how loud they can yell.

      This is a scenario that plays around in me a lot. Maybe I am just paranoid. I used to work in this kind of stuff, but it was kinda hard to get higher-ups to see how possible this kind of thing is. I guess its kinda like trying to discuss with some authority figure that his fortress is built of wood, and the enemy has gasoline and matches. The authority figure hasn't seen what fire can do.... yet.

  • (Score: 3, Informative) by Runaway1956 on Tuesday March 07 2017, @06:24PM (4 children)

    by Runaway1956 (2926) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday March 07 2017, @06:24PM (#476108) Homepage Journal

    Yep - it's a good story. Thirty years ago, it was a good work of fiction. This story WAS written years ago, by another author - but being senile, I can't remember who wrote it. I read it, written from a young girl's point of view. The city was computerized, and the computers went berserk. The terms "hacker" wasn't used, if I recall correctly, but the story was the same.

    And, we, fools that we are, have embraced computer control of every facet of our lives. It's time we woke up and smelled the coffee. The more we rely on computers, the more likely this scenario is to happen in real life.

    --
    "I didn't lose to him!" - The Donald referring to Trippin' Joe
    • (Score: 2, Interesting) by fubari on Tuesday March 07 2017, @06:50PM (3 children)

      by fubari (4551) on Tuesday March 07 2017, @06:50PM (#476124)

      Runaway1956, I will call shenanigans on "smell the coffee". You're being (perhaps unintentionally) incomplete.
      Seriously.
      I am pretty aware of the level of automation our society and economy is embracing.
      "Smell the coffee" and then do [i]what[/i] ?
      Go back to manual typewriters?
      Index cards and filing cabinets?
      Go Full-on-Amish?

      Ok, more practically... there are counter measures that one can take to balance risk.
      1) Basic stockpiling, for example. Do you have food and water stashed away for 4 days? How about 30 days? What difference does it make if your threat model includes zombies, hurricane, earthquakes, EMP, or hackers?
      2) Avoid IOT devices (rember, the S in IOT stands for Security). I have yet to see anything IOT that I can't live without.

      So those were my 2 positive contribution to the discussion. :-)
      I'll encourage you to reply with suggestions beyond, you know, "smelling the coffee."

      And, we, fools that we are, have embraced computer control of every facet of our lives. It's time we woke up and smelled the coffee. The more we rely on computers, the more likely this scenario is to happen in real life.

      • (Score: 2) by Runaway1956 on Tuesday March 07 2017, @07:34PM (1 child)

        by Runaway1956 (2926) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday March 07 2017, @07:34PM (#476146) Homepage Journal

        "Smell the coffee" and then do [i]what[/i] ?"

        Forget the cloud. Just abandon it - your data doesn't need to be "out there".

        Forget about that IOT. Everyone of those devices is a vulnerability.

        Scrap Facefook. Just tell Suckerberg that he can't offer you anything worth the data he is mining.

        And, we can march on Washington, demanding that congress dismantle the NSA and all the other alphabets spying on us day in and day out.

        Unfortunately, I have little faith in humanity. We will continue to grasp every bauble tossed our way, heedless of the cost of those baubles. No one is drinking the coffee.

        --
        "I didn't lose to him!" - The Donald referring to Trippin' Joe
        • (Score: 2) by fubari on Tuesday March 07 2017, @10:44PM

          by fubari (4551) on Tuesday March 07 2017, @10:44PM (#476205)

          You're probably right. *sigh*

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 07 2017, @07:41PM

        by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 07 2017, @07:41PM (#476150)

        Real security, that's all we need. It won't be perfect, but it will be a hell of a lot safer than the (supposedly) totally vulnerable system we have now. Will it cost a lot of money? YES. Will it create jobs? YES! Will it make our nation more secure? YES!!! C'mon Donald, get your shit together and try fixing some real problems instead of just burning down the barn.

  • (Score: 5, Insightful) by LVDOVICVS on Tuesday March 07 2017, @07:25PM (1 child)

    by LVDOVICVS (6131) on Tuesday March 07 2017, @07:25PM (#476141)

    I stopped reading at exactly this point--"If you put your video-game aside, read this article...". I don't know why the author of that thinks that addressing people like children is a selling point. It sure didn't work on me.

    • (Score: 2) by c0lo on Tuesday March 07 2017, @10:23PM

      by c0lo (156) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday March 07 2017, @10:23PM (#476199) Journal

      Perhaps I misunderstood

      My apologies, when I wrote this it was after I read Why Ever Stop Playing Video Games? [soylentnews.org].
      Missed placing the link and put a (smile/grin) context on my "If you put your video-game aside...".

      --
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aoFiw2jMy-0
  • (Score: 2, Funny) by khallow on Tuesday March 07 2017, @08:01PM

    by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday March 07 2017, @08:01PM (#476158) Journal

    and the hubris required to nominate a man like Donald Trump

    You really had me going there. Fortunately, this is just fiction!

    BTW, the real hubris is the two party system.

  • (Score: 2) by Nobuddy on Tuesday March 07 2017, @09:58PM

    by Nobuddy (1626) on Tuesday March 07 2017, @09:58PM (#476184)

    So, the basic plot to Live Free or Die Hard, then.

  • (Score: -1, Troll) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 07 2017, @10:14PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 07 2017, @10:14PM (#476195)

    Article date: June 19, 2016

    Way to be current on the stories!

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