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Notes and Reflections on Books and Media

by Hannah Leitheiser

NY Crime

#cybersecurity

Dawn of the Code War: America's Battle Against Russia, China, and the Rising Global Cyber Threat

Carlin & Graff

2018

Link

2019-04-06

Growing up in New York City, there's a famous Saturday Night Live SNL skit from 1991. Kevin Nealon play the radio host interviewing a city official played by Joe Montana and they listened to callers tales of woe. When one caller reported being mugged on the subway, Montania shot back, "it's 1:15 a.m. on the subway, what do you expect!" When another caller reported being mugged in Midtown in the afternoon while carrying groceries, he queried, "did you make eye contact?" When the victim replied affirmatively, he said "can you tell me why someone in 1991 would make eye contact with a stranger on the street? Why not just wear a t-shirt saying I'm an idiot stab me." Crime was just a natural condition of such a large city, the SNL character said, that's the price you pay for living in the most vibrant city in the world.

That same mentality fits the world of cybersecurity right now. The hopeful days of the early internet materialized into a scary and seemingly ungovernable space populated by all manner of evil doers praying upon hapless victims. When victims get hacked you can hear the Echoes of that SNL skit. "Well did you run your software updates? Did you change your password every hour and use a unique 30 character mixed case alphanumeric password on each of the 45 websites you browse to today? Well what do you expect, it's the internet."

That's not the mentality we need today. - Carlin & Graff, Dawn of the Code War: America's Battle Against Russia, China, and the Rising Global Cyber Threat (2018)