Is the digital world at the risk of exploitation?

Before the internet and the boom of Personal computers, the world was disintegrated and there was no efficient way to work and communicate with people around the globe. At that time the concept of online services was outlandish. And then the digital revolution started; the lives of people changed in every dimension.

“There is almost no area in which digital technology has not impacted me and my family’s life.”

-LARRY IRVING

148,940,000 km² huge-sized world had become like a small town where everyone can communicate with anyone with so much ease, like a snap. Many of today’s big tech companies started in this digital revolution and have expanded to enormous sizes. Many world-changing ideas are implemented due to this digital revolution.

But is there any dark side to this global digitalization? Let’s explore it.

Dark Side of current digital World:

“The eye is always caught by light, but shadows have more to say.’’

-GREGORY MAGUIRE

This Utopia-looking digital word has dark sides too. In this digital world, we are facing privacy issues, cyber-attacks, the monopoly of big tech giants, and the hijacking of public opinion, etc.

But here I will discuss the dark sides through which the vulnerability of the current digital world is clearly visible.

The monopoly of Big Tech Giants:

If I ask you to name the biggest tech companies you will certainly say such names as Amazon, Facebook, Microsoft, Apple, and Google. These companies have become so big that they have overcome competition and monopolized the industry according to their rules.
The first major monopoly by a big tech company that came into public view, was Microsoft’s monopoly of its own web browser (Internet Explorer) against Netscape browser. Microsoft Windows made its users use only its Internet Explorer as a web browser. Due to this, the Netscape browser which was the largest share contributor in the browser market at that time faced huge losses. For this monopoly, Microsft faced Antitrust Charges by the US Government in 1996 but Microsoft stretched this case for so long that the Netscape Browser suffered to death in 2007 and is converted into an open-source browser, now known as Mozilla Firefox.

The antitrust case against Microsoft was closed in 2001 and Microsft had to make an agreement to ensure fair competition in the market. But this didn’t stop Big tech companies from monopolizing the market. Still now many big tech companies are accused of monopolizing the market.

So, Due to these monopolies, the users are using the products of very few big names and if something happened to these companies the whole setups of entire institutions around the globe will be shattered. This is very unlikely to happen because they have state-of-the-art technologies but it can happen as it happened on 14 December, most Google services, including Gmail, YouTube, Google Drive, Google Docs, Google Calendar, and Google Play were crashed but not for a very long time. But in this short time, the impact was huge as many Institutions faced some extent of serious issues and if this crash lasted longer then these issues can surely become serious.

Thus this is the vulnerability of the current digital world as we are dependant for all of our digital services on very few big companies

Increase in Intensive Cyber Attacking:

With the rise of the digital world, there is also a rise in cyber attacks around the globe.

A graph on increasing Malware Infections with passing years by PUPELSEC.

It is not just increasing for normal users but it is also increasing for big companies like 500 fortune companies and even for the states(governments). Sometimes such cyberattacks are succeeded in breaching the securities of highly cyber-secured companies.

The most recent successful cyber attack which happened at the state level was made public in December 2020 by Fireye(one of the best cybersecurity providing companies). It was the most sophisticated cyber-attack ever happened. Through this attack, many big tech giants and even the US government came under the threat of highly sensitive data breaches.

Such an attack definitely clears one thing that how much the big name is, it is always vulnerable. It also clearly shows the vulnerability of the so-called secured digital world to be exploited.

So Again Come to the Question:

So, what is the answer to “Is the digital world at the risk of exploitation?”

In my opinion, it is not exactly at too much risk of exploitation but to some extent yes it is as I explained above.

What should be done?

We should not be dependent on just a few names of silicon valley for our digital world. We should use multiple tools, apps, and platforms and there should be laws or policies to force such companies to make their ecosystem such as that different companies can merge their technologies within it.

Europe implemented such kinds of policies, and as a result, there is not such kind of monopolization of big companies as it is in the US.

By doing this if something went wrong with some company, then our digital world will not be stuck and it will not be exploited much.

“True prevention is not waiting for bad things to happen, it’s preventing things from happening in the first place.”

— Don McPherson

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Abdullah Afzal

A student, always trying to look up for cool things and do something creative.