๐Ÿคทโ€โ™€๏ธ Miscalculated Risk

An algorithm that solves discrimination | Tim Berners-Lee's NFT | Protect yourself from ransomware attacks by buying Bitcoin

๐Ÿคทโ€โ™€๏ธ Miscalculated Risk

Greetings tech fetishists. As usual I invite you to semi-conduct your way down my newsletter.

This week we find ourselves in the warm snuggly centre of the scale: sort of okay I guess ๐Ÿคทโ€โ™€๏ธ. That's because:

  • How to make sure this gruesome spat of ransomware attacks never stops
  • Airbnb attempt to fight discrimination with an algorithm
  • The only way you can repair your on iPhone is if a law is passed about it, apparently

๐Ÿฅ— To start, a bit about the company keeping ransomware alive

As mentioned, ransomware becoming more frequent than my use of the word 'vibe'. In fact according to this study โ€” which I am 100% vibing with โ€” says that in 2021, a business will be attacked with ransomware every 11 seconds. Some folk are still talking about that whole pipeline thing, a couple of weeks ago hackers attacked some meat, and MIT Technology Review are calling this a ransomware crisis.

๐Ÿคฆโ€โ™€๏ธ AND YET companies remain grossly under-prepared for ransomware attacks. Why is that? My initial assumption is: if you're the person in a company talking about network security and phishing scams, no body likes you. You are a gross kill-joy who never gets laid, and thinks going to the cinema alone is normal.

Okay well I have news: going to the cinema alone is normal (you don't talk to your mates while watching the movie, so??) and, being unprepared for cyber attacks is short-sighted, and only makes more cyber attacks happen. If you keep paying ransoms you are just funding ransomware. Yucky companies like DigitalMint are facilitating that process, by making it really easy to pay Bitcoin ransoms. So basically instead of preventing ransomware attacks, they are just leveraging how fiercely incapable the world is from protecting itself from them.

I wouldn't care so much, but ransomware is becoming less random and more focused on hospitals โ€” which are things we really need in a pandemic, in case it wasn't obvious. Part of the problem here is a skewed perception of risk: e.g. banks seemed to have spent 5% of revenue on compliance in 2019, versus just less than 1% on cyber security in the same year. See? I'm so annoyed by this that I actually DID RESEARCH.

Furthermore, Joe Biden recently made mouth sounds equating to 'well if you must do a cyber attack, don't do it on these 16 things [fails to name those things; uses the term ransomware as if it refers to a specific group of people]'. My freshly-washed take on this: good luck trying to reason with the perpetrators of lucrative ransomware attacks, i.e. the people who want nothing more than to make money and embarrass people like you, Joe.


๐Ÿ›  How to fix your own iPhone

Step one: wait for a bill to pass in the state of New York. Step two: move to New York. Step three: buy some of those really tiny screw drivers.

Yes, that's right, phone-havers: the people in charge of New York have passed a Right To Repair bill. It basically says this: if you need to fix your electronic device (ranging from phones to farm equipment) you can do it yourself, or (oh my god) take it to a GENERIC REPAIR SHOP.

Big Tech firms have obviously been lobbying hard against this, because that's part of their monopolistic charm. Apple even said that they wouldn't want you do fix your own devices through fear of hurting yourself and/or the device โ€” which is probably the most patronising argument ever.

Anyway, reasons why this is a good thing:

  • Repair devices and equipment yourself on the fly, without spending the time and money to send it back to the manufacturer.
  • Now you can stop throwing perfectly good iPhones away (the landfills need a rest)
  • I can finally strap a toaster to my iPhone without voiding the warranty (toast on the go).

๐Ÿ›What else has been eating at me like a parasite this week?

๐Ÿค‘ As is typical of the darkest timeline, the inventor of the web is auctioning off the original code as an NFT. Tim Berners-Lee is fine I guess, it just annoys me when he creates a world-changing mechanism of open communication, and then gets mad about how people use it... while he uses it in one of the worst ways imaginable. But WHATEVER.

๐Ÿš๏ธ This week I learned about how Airbnb noticed a gap between the earnings of black and white hosts, so they threw an algorithm at the problem. Shocker: the algorithm made the gap even bigger โ€” no one, not even Airbnb's data science and anti-discrimination teams could have seen this coming.

๐Ÿ™… Thailand have decided that currencies who's prices fluctuate based on what Elon Musk feels like tweeting just aren't the right currencies for them โ€” so they banned meme coins.

Congratulations for making it to the bottom โ€” we clearly have a lot in common. Wanna go out for dinner?


โœจDo you disagree with me? Have something to add? Wanna just vent about how software is eating the world? โ†’ Email me or get me on Twitter.