Are we prepared for the Internet of Things?

As we approach an era where virtually everything in our modern societies will be connected all the time — I am referring to the ubiquity of the Internet of Things (IOT) — we unarguably become prone to malicious elements, most notably hacking. We are told not to worry as we aren’t interesting enough. We aren’t plutocrats, CEOs, celebrities, high ranking government officials so we can hide behind a principle  termed “privacy through obscurity.” In essence, while anyone can theoretically be hacked by anyone with enough skill, time, and smarts, most of us simply aren’t interesting enough for hackers to attack.

That thought is of little comfort to professionals in the field of network connectivity and security. The more you know, the less you relax, the less sanguine you are about the possibility of an IOT attack on your own home. Ignorance is bliss.

So that we are all a bit less ignorant, I suggest this article and video by Kevin Roose, I dared two expert hackers to destroy my life. Here’s what happened:

Two excerpts (from Roose’s Fusion piece):

Part 1: Social Engineering

Chris began by compiling a dossier on me, using publicly available information like my email address, my employer, and my social media accounts. Most of this was information I’d made available on purpose, but some of it wasn’t. (They found my home address, for example, by enlarging and zooming in on a photo I’d posted to Twitter of my dog, which had the address listed in tiny type on the dog’s tag.)

Once he had my personal information, Chris and his team went to work. They called Time Warner Cable and Comcast, pretending to be my girlfriend, and figured out whether or not I had an account with either of the companies. (I don’t.) They called the local utility company to see if I had an account there. (I do, but it’s not under my name.) They found my Social Security number on a special-purpose search engine, and took a survey of my social media activities. In total, their dossier on me added up to 13 pages.

Part 2: The Shell

Dan began hacking me with an elaborate phishing scheme. Running a WHOIS search on my personal website, he found out who hosted my site (Squarespace), and registered an available domain name that was one letter away from Squarespace’s. He then set up a fake website that purported to be a Squarespace security page, and sent me a convincing-looking email that claimed to be from Squarespace’s security team, asking me to go to the page he’d set up and install a certificate that would improve the security of my site. I’ve received a lot of phishing emails over the years, and this was the slickest one I’d ever seen—so slick, in fact, that I clicked on it even though I had promised myself I would be extra-careful while the hackers were targeting me.

The certificate I installed, of course, wasn’t really from Squarespace—it was malware he’d written that created what’s called a “shell.” This shell allowed Dan to remotely log into my computer and execute commands it as if it were his own—essentially giving him control of my entire machine.

You can follow Kevin Roose on Twitter here: @kevinroose

 

 

Not your grandparent’s retirement

Here are projected population pyramids for Canada (2016 – 2036). (Source: Populationpyramid.net ). The triangles have been added by me to illustrate those of retirement age among the population projections.

Canada2016edit

Canada2021

Canada2026edit

Canada2031edit

Canada2036edit

Notwithstanding the advances in medical science, we understand that people do not live forever –yet they do live longer so while the population itself is increasing, the proportion of the population that is technically retired (i.e. past the age of 65) is increasing as well; this proportion of retirees can be seen in a stylized fashion by the ever expanding triangles above.

Then there was this article in this morning’s Globe and Mail (click on link to go to the full article): Still working in retirement: Three people tell their stories

Working in retirement is the new reality for many. Some struggle financially and can’t afford to retire, while others simply don’t want to stop working. Often it’s a combination of factors that determine whether you can choose your retirement date.

We asked three people to share their experiences.

Linda Hawkins, 67, registered nurse, Toronto

Ms. Hawkins is a registered nurse in the cardiac catheterization lab at Toronto Western Hospital. She loves her job but she would have liked to retire last year and travel. The sudden loss of her partner of 10 years altered her situation financially and emotionally, however.

“When you have two incomes and you move to one, it’s difficult,” says Ms. Hawkins. “Two people can live in a house for the same cost as one person. The only difference is the cost of food, which isn’t a lot for people at our age.”

She says she’s still working because, first of all, she needs a reason to get out of bed in the morning. Also, despite making a statutory declaration of the common-law union with her partner, she hasn’t been able to provide sufficient documentation, such as a shared mortgage or joint bank account, to claim survivor benefits for his pensions. Although they shared expenses, each kept their own bank account and Ms. Hawkins had already paid for the house in her name.

Even though she has worked as a nurse for 45 years, Ms. Hawkins says she doesn’t have enough pension income to retire, even factoring in Canada Pension Plan (CPP) and Old Age Security (OAS) benefits. When her boys were growing up, she worked part-time and, back then, part-time workers weren’t eligible to contribute to a pension plan, although that’s changed now.

Another concern is that she might not be able to care for herself someday and would need to go into a nursing or seniors’ home. “That changes everything,” says Ms. Hawkins. It costs at least $3,500 to $4,000 a month just for a single person at a no-frills facility in Toronto. I don’t want to be a burden on my children.

(Italics and underlined text above added by me)

Comments

The nurse in the case above still has recourse to claim survivor benefits; while each case is unique –and perhaps the article doesn’t delve deeply into the minutiae of her particular case– there appears to be enough of reason to argue against the pension administrators original decision and fight further for funds that would make a material difference in this person’s standard of living.

It is also interesting that in using the words “she needs a reason to get out of bed in the morning” the nurse shows that the idea of retirement as a concept has changed and will continue to change — by necessity for most and by choice for some. From the point of view of dependency ratio, Statistics Canada shows that there will be fewer working age people compared to retirees going forward. (Source: Dependency ratio by Statistics Canada)

dependencyratio

I suspect that a future Federal Government will make the unpopular decision to raise Old Age Security (OAS) eligibility further (it will go from 65 to 67 in 2023). Lest we forget, retirement is a relatively new concept in modern societies and Canada is no different. Our concept of retirement came to fruition in the 1930s when the Prime Minister Mackenzie King introduced the Old Age Pensions Act in Canada in 1927. The starting age for benefit payments at that time was 70 and the pensionable age for government benefits remained 70 until 1953.

In addition to the challenges of  the dependency ratio, this past generation has seen a crumbling away of the social contract between employers and employees. The move to shift market risk onto employees and at the same time cut the cost of employee benefits has seen the shift of retirement pension plans from a defined benefit to a defined contribution template. People cannot invest well; most cannot fathom what market risk means and almost all who do not have the comfort of a gold plated pension, wholly misunderstand the need to match future cash flows with future liabilities in one’s so called golden years. It isn’t just a game of growing one’s assets. Everyone’s balance sheets and income statements are different with a unique set of constraints.
The paucity of long-term guaranteed income will drive many retirees back to the
workplace. It remains to be seen what effect technology will have on making current jobs redundant. For the moment, industries such as health care are facing the prospect of losing many of their workers to retirement in the coming decade. Will they come back and if they want to come back will there be a job waiting for them?

What do we do with these people?

And what if one of “these people” is you or I?

My observation is that we are eliminating many jobs now and we won’t be able to train the workforce, and Ray’s argument is that it’s always been like this and we’ve figured it out before and we’ll figure it out again. Looking at the pace of change, starting with self-driving cars that can now do the jobs of Uber drivers, taxi drivers, and truck drivers, that’s millions of jobs lost over there. What do we do with these people? Many of them are not retrainable for the technology economy and we’re not going to be able to create new jobs for them within five years or so.

The more I look into it, the more I’m convinced that change is happening too fast, disruption is happening too fast, jobs are being wiped out too fast, and the fact that we’re still in denial about it and not acknowledging that this destruction is happening gets me worried. We should instead be talking about how can we minimize its impacts or come up with a safety net or retraining program and create as many new jobs as we can and spread the prosperity. We are not having these discussions. ~ Vivek Wadhwa

Bold emphasis added by me.

See the rest of the interview with Vivek Wadhwa and his thoughts on how human jobs will be replaced here: ‘RoboCop is coming’ 

The busiest infographic you will see today

This Marketing Technoclocy Landscape Supergraphic is by Scott Brinker over at chiefmartec.com. While not exhaustive it must come close and once you discern the various sections: Marketing Experiences. Marketing Operations, Marketing Environment from Infrastructure, Backbone Platforms, and Middleware, you can drill down into sub categories and see his list of companies that exist and compete in those spaces. With the fluid nature of technological change we will no doubt see many more entrants into each category with many failing but the shake out over the coming decade will change the face of how marketing is done from the back end to the front line and every touch point in between.

Marketing Technolocy Landscape

You can download the pdf marketing_technology_jan2015.

Brinker’s four takeaways for readers are:

  1. Marketing has unquestionably become a technology-powered discipline.
  2. The quantity of martech ventures is a barometer of how much marketing is evolving.
  3. The marketing technology field is heterogenous, with a very broad range of products.
  4. To thrive in this environment, marketing should steadily develop its technical talent.

Read the rest of his post.