Would you kill with the press of a button?

Fabio Fidanza
May 15, 2017 · 2 min read

You don’t have to answer if you’re in the army.
(By the way, I don’t envy you).

But would you, sitting at your office desk or thumbing this article on your commute back home?
No, you wouldn’t. You would not press that button.

It turns out some evil nerdo came very close last Friday.
With the grand goal of making a lot of easy money, they programmed a virus–thing that renders your files useless.
The only way to recover your precious work is to pay a ransom using Bitcoin (read: untrackable electronic money), hence the “Ransomware” label.

The outcome of this criminal operation is disturbing.
Not only the villains-behind-a-keyboard didn’t get (very) rich, totaling something more than 25 grands.
They likely caused 9-figures damage and posed lives at risk, as many UK hospitals were infected by the ransomware, and they had to cancel operations and appointments.

If we had put the ransomware guys in an operating room, and asked them to disconnect the oxygen supply in exchange for $1,000, what would they do?
I bet $1,000 they had run away (probably crying).

Here’s the problem.
Very few people would pull a trigger for money.
But it’s totally different when you’re hitting a button on your computer keyboard, and you probably don’t even know how harmful your action could get.

So what can we do apart from getting our computers protected?

Education is the answer, in my humble opinion.

We should teach the young generations how computers handle almost every aspect of today’s life.
Tell them real stories of people being harmed by someone hitting a button somewhere in the world.
Make them understand that they could be the victims of such criminal actions — and that’s not just being hit by a drone.
Having their documents, private pictures, chats, audio recordings, stolen could have horrible effects on their sanity.
They should know how other guys committed suicide for being cyberbullied.

Once they realize how devastating a click can be, they would hopefully think twice before impersonating the mighty hacker.

A scene from War Games — https://giphy.com/gifs/nCEjwWSNNMA6c/

Watch War Games with your kids.
They won’t identify with Matthew Broderick plugging a rotary phone into a beige dial-up modem, but they’ll understand how delegating life-threatening stuff to computers can go terribly wrong.

And how awesome is to be a hacker, if you have a good heart along with a brilliant brain.

creative designer, artist, engineer— www.fabiofidanza.com

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