For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction. The more technology advances, the more it can benefit society – or be used by the underside of society to further advance its aims to harm, swindle, and/or extract illicit profit from the rest of the world.
Sometimes we knowingly collaborate in these schemes. There’s no such thing as a free lunch, so all of us who have downloaded Chrome, Microsoft Edge, and the like or have searched for anything on the web have “voluntarily” given up personal information that can be used by advertisers to deliver what they think we want. I could also provide chapter and verse about the issues concerning our voting and credit profiles, but you get the idea.
Don’t forget that your social media activities are also a great source of intelligence for malicious actors – whether you are an active poster or not. Every post gives thieves insights into your habits, your personality, and your possessions. If you have an electronic presence but don’t post frequently, that also gives criminals insights into your personal habits.
Just like Cambridge Analytica (which just filed for bankruptcy after misuse of Facebook data ), cybercriminals can use AI to analyze your behaviors and create complete profiles that can be used for online and offline crime like identity theft and guessing your passwords to stealing that beautiful new car or breaking into your home while you are on a Caribbean vacation.
Once they’ve collected enough personal information from enough people, they can use that representative information to create their own anomalies, classifications, and predictions to determine the most profitable victims or the victims least likely to file charges against them.
They can also use big data analytics and AI to analyze their risk as well. They can predict the
probability of being caught doing a specific action under a specific condition. They can create an entire database of laws, legal precedents, jurisdictions, and geographies, and then mine the data to determine their likelihood of prosecution and potential jail time. Remember, that while property theft has a long and storied history in the courts, electronic crime law is still evolving, and they may discover that some areas don’t have specific laws on the books yet.
For every positive development that technology brings humanity, the same developments can and probably will, be used against us. This isn’t a new concept. The early days of medical insights that were discovered in the anatomy lab were initiated with the active assistance of grave robbers.
Technology will really make the world better – but that doesn’t mean that some of us won’t be burned by the process.