SATIRE/Rosie Sorenson

Just the Beginning

They say that bad news comes in threes. Sandwiched between the schizophrenic election season and Hallowe’en (during which razor blades often end up in the candy), we’re reaping the harvest of seeds sown by Mark Zuckerberg and his “Move-Fast-and-Break-Things” crowd, those worshippers of the Internet of Things (IOT).

Experts predict that the internet outage recently experienced on the Eastern seaboard by Paypal, Netflix, the New York Times and others was just the beginning, a practice run, if you will, for hackers intent on loosening the training wheels to derail us all.

You can thank the Internet of Things for this Armageddon-in-the-making. Baby monitors! Smart TV’s! Coffee pots and other internet-connected devices, all of which are lying in wait to whoop our gullible asses. Think of it — the smart coffee pot that remembers your schedule and knows at what time you’ll need your jolt of caffeine; the pink plastic thingie that allows you to monitor your little one while you’re at work; the TV you can beseech to find and broadcast the latest Star Wars movie — all have the power to bring the world to its knees. Our devices of convenience are twirling around to bite us in our collective butts faster than you can say “Please don’t hurt me.”

According to Jeremiah Grossman, Chief of Security Strategy at Sentinel One, a computer security company, the hackers stole passwords from hundreds of thousands of these devices, mini-computers, really, and harnessed their power to create the ISIS of the web to launch a mass attack against the Dyn corporation. Dyn operates the central servers for internet traffic, and when DYN goes down, so goes much of the internet.

You want to watch a movie on Netflix? Sorry. You want to buy that lacy blouse with PayPal? Uh, no can do. You’re dying to read the latest online editorials at the New York Times? Too bad, sucker. There’s always someone around to spoil the party.

No internet? No economy. No nothing. Silicon Valley prides itself on “disruption.” Yes, well, now you have it. How’s that working out for ya?

And this is just the beginning.

What would happen if driverless cars (which are hooked up to the internet) were hacked? Oh, lordy, you think we have traffic jams now? And how many people could freeze to death this winter if their Nest thermostats were hacked? Word has it that even Dick Cheney’s doctors are worried, so much so that they’ve disconnected his pacemaker from the internet, because, well, who wouldn’t want to disrupt that old war criminal?

Anyway, I say it’s time to dust off ye olde typewriter, unearth the vintage stationery, lick the stamps and stroll to the nearest post office. Before it gets hacked, that is.

Rosie Sorenson of Richmond, Calif., is humor columnist for the Foolish Times whose work has appeared in other publications as well as popular anthologies, including the forthcoming The Magic of Memoir, edited by Brooke Warner and Dr. Linda Joy Meyers. Her essays have been broadcast on KQED-FM in San Francisco in its Perspectives series. One of her essays for that series won the Listener Favorite Award. Email

From The Progressive Populist, December 1, 2016

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