…Except when it comes to the new Microsoft Internet Explorer critical flaw, which is causing us all to run for the hills.
These are paranoid times indeed for technology. Industry leaders may be feeling shaken, but that’s nothing compared to the actual tech users. We’re afraid of Microsoft security flaws, we’re concerned about Google and our ISPs, we’re worried the public sector will cost us money and mess up our services, we’re now being warned of the dangers of virtualisation – the list goes on and on.
Sometimes you can’t help but feel the tech scare factor may be slightly overstated. After all, compared to things like knife crime, gang violence or international terrorism, this paranoia seems trifling at best.
Or is it?
I always considered my fear of wasps to be irrational and perhaps slightly stupid, in the grand scheme of things. But then during the summer I was stung for the first time in many years, and was astonished to find that it hurt just as much as I’d feared!
Now, there’s an argument that people are over-paranoid about IT security threats, for example. But if you get your email login swiped by a hacker, who accesses your account to find your credit card details, then uses your credit card to sign up to a child pornography website, the consequences could be pretty devastating.
What’s more, a new infected webpage is discovered every four and a half seconds, which when you think about it is really quite often, while Christmas is typically a peak period for malicious online activity. In contrast, the chances of being stabbed on your way to midnight mass, finding your mulled wine laced with ricin or uncovering a nail bomb in your turkey seem remote.
I’m not seriously trying to suggest that we should be more fearful of tech threats than we should about suffering a horrific physical attack. But given that we continue to shift more of our lives online, to the point at which the activities undertaken by our virtual selves can carry as many consequences as those in the real world, can we say for sure that physical threats will always carry the most weight?
And on that overly paranoid (virtual) bombshell, Merry Christmas everyone!