The Library Book (Ch. 26) – Bionic Bug Podcast Episode 026

Hey everyone, welcome back to Bionic Bug podcast! You’re listening to episode 26. This is your host Natasha Bajema, fiction author, futurist, and national security expert. I’m recording this episode on October 20, 2018.

First off, a quick personal update. Last week, I was unable to record a podcast episode because I was in Austin for a writer mastermind event. I’m still processing everything I learned talking to fellow writers about my fiction and author business. Perhaps, my biggest takeaway is that I should develop a presence on Medium. I’m certain that most of you have read a post from medium.com at one point or another. It is a platform designed specifically for quality content by the world’s most insightful writers, thinkers, and storytellers. I will be posting articles regularly building upon the content in this podcast. If you’re interested in learning more, I hope you follow me there.

While in Austin, I have the opportunity to visit my first Amazon bookstore. What’s the big deal, you say? It’s just a bookstore. Actually, it’s a different experience than most book stores and it comes down to curation and displays. Your typical bookstore is curated by the traditional publishers; if you’re an Indie publisher, you can’t get into most of these bookstores unless one features local authors. The different spaces and displays in a bookstore are like real estate for purchase to the highest bidder. In some cases, placement on the tables out front go for tens of thousands of dollars. The cheapest real estate in a bookstore is on the shelves in a spine-out layout. Face-out displays cost more. In an Amazon bookstore, the readers curate the selection. That’s right, you choose the books. Simply put, the highest ranking books in different genres are featured in an Amazon bookstore. Each book is face-out and has rank information listed. The face-out displays make for an entirely different experience for browsing. You don’t have to know what you’re looking for, you can simply browse covers and pick up ones that interest you.

Let’s talk tech:

  • Last time, I mentioned the news headline about the alleged hardware hack by China, which sent ripple effects through technology and national security circles. There’s has been much debate since the article that’s worth discussing.
  • Since the publication of the article, Amazon and Apple have denounced the veracity of the story. Most recently, DHS issued a statement during a Senate hearing rejecting the claims made by the Bloomberg article.
  • My first headline for this week is “The security community increasingly thinks a bombshell Bloomberg report on Chinese chip hacking could be bogus” published on businessinsider.com on October 13.
  • The article raises doubts about the claims made in the bombshell article. Even if the article is wrong, however, government and technology experts are saying that such a scenario is possible. And I think that’s what is key. Today, everything increasingly depends on electronics, which use chips produced overseas. Such a hardware hack could provide back doors into computer networks.
  • My next headline is related and even more distressing than the hardware hack. “Many of the US Military’s Newest Weapons Have Major Cyber Vulnerabilities: GAO” published on Defense One by Patrick Tucker on October 9, 2018.
  • The GAO has assessed the U.S. military’s weapons systems and found them vulnerable to cyberhacks. “Using relatively simple tools and techniques, testers were able to take control of systems and largely operate undetected, due in part to basic issues such as poor password management and unencrypted communications.” If you’re interested reading more, you can read the report
  • Again this is a function of our reliance on computers connected to networks and/or the Internet. If not secured properly, they are exposed to a wide range of cyber-vulnerabilities
  • My last headline is a bit of good news. While emerging technologies pose new risks, they can also help to solve national security challenges.
  • Thanks to John Hornick for posting “Infill Creates a “Fingerprint” for Tracing 3D Printed Items Back to Their Sources” published on 3dprint.com on October 17, 2017.
  • Researchers have figured out how to “trace a 3D printed object to the printer on which it was made.” This could be extremely helpful in tracking 3dprinted guns and other dangerous items as well as serve as a deterrent to making illegal items using 3D printers. There is a precedent for this on laser printers. You may not be aware but when you print documents on a laser printer, there are invisible dots that can identify the originating printer. In fact, that is how an NSA contractor was charged for leaking classified documents in 2017. Law enforcement officials were able to trace documents leaked to the media back to an NSA printer and determine that one of six people could have printed it using time stamps. From there, they were able to determine which of the six had contact with the media outlet.

Let’s turn to Bionic Bug. Last week, Lara conducted a stake out on Fiddler and his daughter and nearly came into contact with the rogue scientist’s beetle swarm. What happens next?

The views expressed on this podcast are my own and do not reflect the official policy or position of the National Defense University, the Department of Defense or the U.S. Government.

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