The dangers of relying on technology instead of using it

By Anthony Garcia

March 19, 2014

In case you haven’t heard, it looks like Target Corp. is in a little bit of trouble with the U.S. government with consequences directly affecting millions of Americans.

Back in December, Target was the victim of a massive cyber attack in which 40 million credit card records were stolen. Recently, 70 million other customer records were found, causing more Americans and their bank accounts to be at risk of exposure to credit fraud. 

This has done no favor to Target, since it now faces dozens of class action lawsuits and even more potential action from banks seeking reimbursement for millions of dollars in losses due to having to replace customers’ credit and debit cards.

About three weeks ago, I myself had to replace my Chase brand debit card since my records were possibly at risk to hackers, too.

Even more shocking was the reality of how easy it was to pull off such a massive attack. In an article published by business reporter Jennifer Bjorhus of Minneapolis’ StarTribune, she quoted Jim Walter, manager of McAfee’s Threat Intelligence Service saying, “As an attack, it is extremely unimpressive and unremarkable” and that “it’s all there in black and white.”

Apparently, the cyber attack was done using a malware program that you or I could buy off the shelves of our local electronics store and easily install on our own desktops.

While filling out the paperwork to get my new debit card, it suddenly hit me just how dependent and reliant we are as a society on technology for everything in our lives.

We use technology to make money.  We use it spend money.  We use it to have fun.  We use it to connect to others and we use it to avoid others.

We literally cannot escape our own creation.

While the advent of technology has given us many great things today, to what cost have we given technology in return?

It’s commonplace now to hear and read in the news about how our dependence on technology has come back to bite the hands that created it.

Last week, a Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777 went missing after only being in the air for 40 minutes after flying over the South China Sea. As of the printing of this edition of the Star, the plane has not been found nor do investigators have an idea about where the plane could be since the radar on the airplane seems to have either been turned off or malfunctioned.

Or, let’s look back to 2012 when Apple Inc. tried to introduce their version of Google Maps, complete with wrong directions, mislabeled locations and all. The negative reaction to that was instant, since we as humans have subconsciously come to rely on technology as a crutch to guide us on where we need to be and when.

Even more dangerously than that, last September, Ford Motor Co. recalled over 370,000 vehicles due to corrosion in the steering wheels, resulting in a loss of control and instability. Luckily, no vehicles were reported in any accidents due to this failure, but imagine what would have happened to both Ford and the auto industry had accidents or fatalities occurred.

We use our cars to travel to work, school and anywhere else you can think of. While technology failure like the Ford recall situation directly puts our lives in danger, can we even picture a society anymore without the sophistication of technology our vehicles have today?

As with anything else, technology comes with its own pros and cons. What we need to do as a society is decide just how much influence we want to allow tools and technology to have on our existence.

Will we be able to break free from our invisible chains to the world of computers and electronics and learn to not always rely on technology? Or, will we be like Target and continue to get stabbed in the back by our own design?