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The Threat Component Of An Electronic Machine: Let's Understand The Nuts And Bolts Of It

In times of cyber age, things do change fast, planning and focus changes and new issues crop up, and hence it is but natural certain things may not always go the intended way

Photo Credit : Courtesy: www.hbr.org

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It has been quite an issue these days and from the government to private firms, they've spent millions of dollars to ensure their critical information remains safe and the threat doesn't invoke any crisis or pandemonium.

Moreover, in recent times, from banks to petrol pumps, a wide range of digital and electronic machines have been installed, unfortunately, some of them have come under the scanner and people have raised various levels of concerns. It's also possible some might be genuine others just to allay their fears.

For me, most certainly, it's not important to discuss them from political angle, but purely, from the point of knowledge and awareness, I've found them to be valuable.

On the contrary, the state as well as the central government, both of them is making huge efforts to contribute to the digital growth, online transactions, real time financial monitoring system, digi-lockers to store and safeguard our critical data, multi-channel transactions including social media and a slew of other relevant endeavors.

In addition, if risks have to come they can come in any form and which could be through a simple ATM transaction. Hence, if we look and limit our opinion, just on few elements like a credit or debit card; then it will be kind of parochial perspective.

Our honorable PM, Narender Modi and IT Minister Ravi Shanker Prasad, themselves have initiated multiple steps to concretize the whole concept of digital India in order to move ahead strongly, and have considered risks, threats, safety and security issues related to each of them.

In times of cyber age, things do change fast, planning and focus changes and new issues crop up, and hence it is but natural certain things may not always go the intended way.

However, it's important we must know the basic elements and components, i.e., software, hardware, malwares, viruses, bugs, add-on devices, codes and programs, devices and specifications, and other intrinsic or extrinsic factors.

On the other hand, day by day, technology is changing with lighting speed, and more new technologies popping up with their twists and turns. In a nut shell, everything is becoming far more complex and has become increasingly difficult to keep pace. But again we can't ignore them either in terms of the loss it can incur of time, space and money.

To understand it, let's consider this example of Elon Musk, he is the person who is trying to implant a small chip in human brain through which he wishes to control or monitor electronic devices and equipments. It will work like a remote control or blue tooth without its external manifestation, i.e., Neuralink.

So, while we're taking efforts to move towards a digital and online platform, along with newer innovations in technology, then it's important too we must understand them.

How machines get made or get affected?

1. Physical Design and Modification

At the time of design itself, an electronic device can be manufactured to give you a specific result or made to work in way that you wish to obtain the output in terms its accuracy, measurement, features, time and space.

2. Technical side and Programming
On the program level or the hardware level either at the time of manufacturing or later based on specific needs certain adjustments or instructions can be programmed to seek a specific result.

3. Algorithm or Algebra
The codes follow a certain algorithm or formulae; you can modify or tweak whatever results in numbers that you want. It is very simple for a programmer or a coder to do that to a machine by changing numerical value of a sequence, formula or code.

4. Codes and Sequence of Codes
The codes or multiple sequence of codes could be programmed and may be kept dormant within the machine and as the need arise you can activate it as per you choice or chose that particular sequence when you wish to fiddle with the machine.

5. In-built features and hardware modifications
A machine when it is built has multiple features half we know the rest half we don't know. Let's consider the example of a desktop, when we take it to a mechanic then sometimes he says you have an additional program or an extra slot for an addition RAM and rather than selling it you can put an additional RAM to speed up your computer.

6. Virus or additional programs or Malwares
There are a variety of software programs, malware or specially designed virus or bug, which can be developed or put in the machines for a desired result. Every day we see these things happening to our computers and laptops in the office.

7. IP or Internet Protocol
It is true that a machine which has not been allocated an IP may not be fiddled with on internet but if it has been assigned an I.P, then with "Internet of Things" which is a new IT innovation tool, changes can be induced or programs can be affected.

8. Storage devices and data centers
As mentioned earlier, now to cut cost and increase efficiency, information is shared and stored over the cloud and sometimes you might actually not know the data which you're saving on your machines are alternatively been saved elsewhere on the cloud and can be accessed in real time for some other person to use.

9. Innovation and Human Control on Machine
For the sake of argument, I am tempted to reiterate the example of Elon Musk how his plans of taking control of a machine through human neuron-link will make the use and application of technology so complex and difficult to understand for the users. But, people who know or create them can always have knowledge and control over them.

10. Too Many and Too Fast
Technologies in the west and even in our country, is changing with rapid pace, far too many things happening and then there are situations of over lapping use and applications. In my personal interactions, I have found even the tech-geeks hinting of difficulties arising due to constant changes and innovation, and to keep pace with the same look to be an addition pain.
I assume, the world has moved towards a much complex and technological transformation phase, while in ninety percent of the cases we might reap benefits but on the other hand, the ten percent might pose heavier financial threats. Hence, it is better to be safe than feel sorry later.

In the end, I must emphasize, we must deploy all the cyber and security components of safety in the positive spirits of the technological innovation and the shift modern times has inflicted. Minimum, we could educate and constantly update ourselves, to remain well informed.

Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article above are those of the authors' and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of this publishing house. Unless otherwise noted, the author is writing in his/her personal capacity. They are not intended and should not be thought to represent official ideas, attitudes, or policies of any agency or institution.


Tags assigned to this article:
cyber security computers Programming Hub technology

Syed S. Ahmed

The author is IT entrepreneur, writer, columnist and cricket enthusiast

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