Tuesday, October 31, 2006

next tech-ade on the horizon...

so i've been invited to speak at these FTC hearings next week that are a pretty big deal. yeah, i wasn't their 1st choice from symantec, i can admit this (i think the 1st request when to john thompson, our ceo). honestly i'm not even sure i was their 3rd but it doesn't matter 'cause they're stuck with me :-) it's a pretty prestigious line-up which includes vint cerf and esther dyson, i think i'm pretty much the low performer amongst the crowd without a high-flying title or dr. next to my name. check out the agenda:

so our chat is on communicating in the next tech-ade, and i'm intended to be the "threats" guy, i.e. what will the bad ppl do as we're getting our next gen communications groove on? i figured i'd try to hammer out some of my thoughts here before putting together my succinct speaking points for the event. here it goes...

i think the next gen comm'ns are about the following "big concepts"-- and i don't think any of them are revolutionary to be honest. i see us simply smushing together a lot of the stuff that's already been out there where we really have only begun to tap the potential. so no big game changers but taking all the stuff (smart phones, mmorpgs, IM, wi-fi, etc.) and integrating it. but, the integration of this stuff, much of which we've only seen a glimpse of its real promise, ends up being pretty darn special. oh yeah, here's the concepts!

blah blah blah. buzz word crapola, i know. but this time it's real dammit. your browser will actually work on your phone. tried using the browser on yer treo? give up early, it sucks. now imagine that it works. and it's fast. and the screen is bigger. and you can type on it w/o developing unsightly calluses on yer thumbs. oh, and IM works too. not the odd, frankenstein IM we have today where you have a web client (which also sucks), but real IM. you'd use it in much the same way as ppl text today, and perhaps it ends up killing SMS since you can send files and block ppl you don't want via yer buddy list. sayoonara psycho chick/guy you met the other nite who ending up being downright creepy, just drop the packets.

and none of this is using gprs data services but bonafide wi-fi at high speeds. soooo... what do you do with this wonder device?
- interact online (buy stuff, swap files, share things, etc.)
- talk to ppl, but see them at the same time
- do real work-> leave heavy laptop home for trip thx to projection keyboard and monitor
- login to physical areas, the device becomes a transit point for yer identity but it is only temp storage (it's actually stored on the network through federated services)

[ok, foto interlude. this is me consulting the japanese radish god for wisdom on communications of the future.]

the question that always gets asked is "doesn't this put all your eggs in 1 basket? what happens if you lose it? drop in the toilet?" etc. the answer is... you lose yer hardware, which stinks (depending on how much you paid for it). but all yer real info is stored on a network somewhere given the availability of real web apps, fast connections and widely available connectivity. we're going to be accessing our identity and data from many different types of devices, all of which are connected to the greater 'net, so why would you store things on a single device? some stuff you will still keep local, but all the important stuff will be sent out to the cloud and accessible via secure web services. so you lose yer device, send out a msg like lo-jack and it shuts down. done (or close enough).

so what about converged device attacks? they don't attack the device itself in most cases since it's more effective to attack the more ubiquitous platform: the web. other internet services and apps will be targeted too, especially IM and MMORPG interactions (more on this later). and the weakness they exploit is not a buffer overflow or other coding error in most cases, but it is user mistakes and naiveté. the reality is our platforms are going to be quite safe, but due to the rate of technology change and the massive influx of new ppl to these services, the proverbial sucker will be virtually born every minute for the bad guys to exploit.

alright, i'm off to bed but there's plenty more to go. lemme know if you have any feedback or thoughts to share on the topic, i'd welcome the help!

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