Electric Shock and Information Security

When electricity was first discovered, literature of that time was rife with wonder, anxiety and fear. It was slowly found out that although electricity changed the world forever. It was the first invention / discovery in human recorded history that conquered night. Later distance was conquered.

We are living in the age of information security just when people were amazed by electricity and as the use became ubiquitous and more and more human homes were connected to the electricity generator, more and more people were potentially exposed to electric shock which was lethal.

Modern fear and anxiety about Cyber Security have some striking similarities :

a) Electricity was IoT – version 1.0. Consider the wiring as a LAN and more and more devices started getting connected. Even toothbrush or a razor.

b) Lack of awareness and care was shocking and lethal. Touching exposed live wires or not having safety mechanism was invitation to pain and suffering. Same while opening virus infected mails or not taking proper care of handling devices connected to the Network.

c) There was a need of some mechanism to detect a contact (a danger scenario) and switch-off. This was implemented but it is not perfect. No method is perfect. Awareness and being careful are the greatest protectors still while handling electrical devices. 

d) Information network is infinitely more sophisticated network with intelligence at the periphery and the users are using a dimension above in terms of intelligence of the network and the multiple layers of architecture. But one aspect remains the same : electrical energy exposed in certain structure is lethal and information structured into certain form is highly malicious. The problem is not in electrical energy and information per se but in their “structures”.

If history is of any value and if it teaches us anything through its confusion and ambivalence, it is this and is of paramount importance :  We shall continue to have shocks – either a physical one or subtler one. Technology is not the cause. It is the very structure of our existence – the duality.

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