This is a blog dedicated to a personal interpretation of political news of the day. I attempt to be as knowledgeable as possible before commenting and committing my thoughts to a day's communication.

Thursday, July 09, 2015

As Coincidences Go ....

"In my business, you don't love coincidences."
"But it does appear that there is not a cyber-intrusion involved."
James Comey, FBI director

"The problem is humans can't keep up with all the technology they have created. It's becoming unmanageable by the human brain."
"Our best hope may be that computers eventually will become smart enough to maintain themselves."
"You should be resilient enough to quickly recover from the outage within a half-hour, if not a few minutes."
Avivah Litan, analyst, Gartner Inc.

"Instead of just letting the technology rush ahead of us and then trying to catch up in terms of privacy and security, we should be baking those things into the systems from the start. We need to be a little smarter on how we are coding things."
Lillian Ablon, technology researcher, Rand Corp. 

So, what's all the fuss? Oh, right, the puzzle that the New York stock exchange suddenly suspended trading yesterday for hours, with no explanation immediately forthcoming. And then it was revealed it was the result of a "technical problem". Which took three and a half hours to solve. Yesterday was quite the day, in fact, since United Airlines also suspended all of its flights for almost two hours. There were 800 flight delays and 60 cancellations.

And while this was happening, the Wall Street Journal's WSJ.com website experienced "technical difficulties", as well. But rest assured, the techies that set up all these programs did eventually discover what the problems were and overcame them. Government sources were quick to deny that none of this, the biggest airline in the United States, the oldest stock exchange, the most prominent business newspaper did not fail temporarily as a result of sabotage.

But resulting from technical glitches. Which took awhile to come to grips with. But eventually human intelligence and ingenuity solved the problems. Even while experts warn that technologies that are unfinished are being rushed into use without ensuring that they're capable of withstanding the use they're put to, and not breaking down in mid-use. It's costly, it's destabilizing, it's demoralizing. Human error leading to technological breakdown.

The breakdowns and the coincidence of their confluence, say the experts, should be viewed as a wake-up call to companies and the engineers they employ that their networks should be programmed correctly to begin with with the intention uppermost in mind that glitches and malfunctions are discovered before the programs are released for confident use. And to prevent, of course, malicious outsiders succeeding in their malware attacks.

And just incidentally, there was yet another breach of confidential "sensitive information" relating to 21.5-million individuals whose data was obtained by hackers who intruded last year into the federal Office of Personnel Management's computer networks. It was related to a previous breach which had compromised the personnel data of 4.2-million federal employees. Most unfortunate. Proving the point that secure software programs are a requisite.

And broaching the possibility that perhaps the three breakdowns were not just technical breakdowns but conceivably somewhat more than simply that. In any event, government officials aren't telling.

FILE - This Aug. 9, 2011 file photo shows a Wall Street street sign near the New York Stock Exchange, in New York. U.S. stock indexes are opening mostly higher Monday, Dec. 22, 2014, as the market builds on its big gains from last week. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan, File)
Wall Street street sign near the New York Stock Exchange, in New York.

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