How The Elusiveness of Technology Can Put You at Risk

Just recently, I read a survey that said that up to a third of iPhone 4 users think their phone is a 4G device. The numbers aren’t quite as high for Android and Blackberry devices, but they’re still well above 20 percent. That’s at least 1 out of 5 people.

What to click?!Here’s another personal anecdote — someone told me that they read (and believed) stories about Google and Apple tracking people and keeping all of that data. They also believed that the companies could do that independently of whether or not you used any Google or Apple products.

I read some of the stories they were referring to, and did not come away with that impression, probably due to my own “built in” knowledge of how such technology works. But it did get me thinking of how quickly technology is advancing and, and perhaps more worryingly, how quickly many people are getting left behind. Even someone like myself, with a technical background, has to spend some amount of time “playing” with a new gadget or service before I feel I understand both how it works and how to use it adequately.

Are we moving too quickly? Not if smartphone, flat screen TV and iPad sales are any indication. People are snapping up new technology pretty much as quickly as it rolls out, and they still want more power and features. And yet, so many of us are quite clue-free about how to fully use the devices we plunk down our hard-earned money for.

Perhaps that by itself is not a bad thing, but there are technologies that we do need to understand to some degree in order to protect both ourselves and others. Take online scams, identity theft or even having strong passwords, for example. In my opinion, these are all things that any online computer user should be well-versed in, yet they’re not. I’m willing to bet that if that they were, the number of hacking incidents would drop dramatically.

Will there ever be a day where we won’t have to worry about how technology works and yet be fully protected? Somehow I don’t think we’ll see that, because I think social engineering will continually trump security through technology.

What can you do? Befriend a local nerd and/or get online and read as much as you can about online security and safety. Since technology is an ever-shifting landscape, you absolutely need to stay abreast of what’s going on. Sounds like a burden, but that’s the price we pay for all of this glorious gadgetry.