A suspected spy balloon was shot down by fighter jets off the coast of South Carolina earlier this month, and the FBI is now studying sensors that fell from it into the ocean. It was the first of four unidentified flying objects shot down since February 4. All of this must be keeping the government’s new “All-domain Anomaly Resolution Office” very busy. Although yesterday President Biden said that none of the three shot down most recently were espionage vehicles and all were likely tied to private companies, recreation or research.
Conspiracy theorists are, predictably, going into overdrive. Meanwhile, China, where the U.S. government believes the balloon originated, says it was a weather monitoring airship, albeit one monitoring weather over sensitive U.S. military and other strategic sites. The origin and the purpose of the other 3 remain a mystery.
UFO mania has been a uniquely American passion for decades, starting when a man spotted nine “flying saucers” speeding through the sky near Yakima, Washington, in 1947.
That sighting and the countless others that followed spawned a whole new wacky sci-fi film genre—and are still keeping Hollywood busy. Where would American culture be without 2001: A Space Odyssey, Men in Black, Independence Day, Close Encounters of the Third Kind, E.T. The Extraterrestrial—or Star Trek? Meanwhile, we’ve got billionaires like Elon Musk, Richard Branson, and Jeff Bezos doing their best to find a way to turn outer space into a tourist attraction. If only they could guarantee a close encounter.
Only time will tell what these latest sightings amount to, but the headlines are a good reminder to make sure you’re protecting your proprietary assets. These recent sightings may have captured the nation’s imagination for now, but here on the ground, make sure you’re taking appropriate steps to tighten up your cybersecurity. Remember that spyware comes in many forms.
“Smart” homes and offices mean there are more devices in every area of our lives that can be used to gather information about us and how we live and work. Ever talk to someone about a product with your phone close by, only to have an ad pop up for that very product the next time you access your browser? A word to the wise: if you have a video doorbell, make sure your password is unique as well as strong enough not to be vulnerable to hacking.
Fortunately, we do have some control over our personal and workplace tech environments, and following the guidelines of IT pros can help avoid problems. Using hard-to-guess passwords and avoiding clicking on any links sent to your email are obvious first steps, but it’s also important to make sure you’re doing things like downloading the mandatory security updates your IT department or software vendor sends out when they first arrive, not two weeks later. Marcum Tech has been working tirelessly on cyber project after cyber project. It’s way past time to take cybersecurity seriously; it’s negligent not to.
I’m betting that regardless of what happens with the balloon, the folks at Netflix are taking inspiration—ET Meets the Nest? The possibilities are endless.