Can it be Hacked?

Today it is important to strongly analyze the idea of technology to be “unhackable.” With the news of how much our electronics have become internet connected occurring years ago and the alert of how susceptible they are to attack coming soon after the notion to eliminate the ability to be hacked has come to the surface. At a discussion with Governor Noem here on campus a guest from the community raised claims to have developed such a technology. Of course, this was not the first time anyone has done so and the desire for such claims appears steadfast.

John McAfee in 2018 released a bitcoin wallet which he claimed could not be hacked and hedged a $250,000 bounty on it. A week after the release a researcher alleged to have hacked the device, sadly Bitfi, McAfee’s company, refused to honor these claims. After another researcher gained root access to the device the company released a Tweet stating the removal of the bounty and hiring of a new Security Manager. The company also in the Tweet stated that they would be removing the claim of “unhackable” from their branding.

Hearing this declaration being made in the Beacom Institute of Technology peaked the attention of this reporter. I spent some time speaking with students about the possibility of technology being able to become so called unhackable and did not find any support. One student who claimed to have little computer skills was still able to express the understanding of how the human element plays a major component in hacking incidents.

As our campus continues its path with technology and cybersecurity it’s up to our students moving into the workforce to make their colleagues aware of consequences of making such claims. As Alissa Slenes mentioned, “you can hack a car, I’m pretty sure you can hack anything.” When talking about a financial situation the concerns are quite clear: stolen money. However much more critical systems are just as vulnerable and what’s important to take from this is that these claims are a slippery slope to becoming a target for exploit. As it has already been demonstrated: the quickest way to get hacked is to claim you will not.

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