The Costs of Big Data

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Technology is advancing at a rapid pace. Companies now have the technology to track their customers’ actions and sort them to create trends. These trends are utilised to help the companies market products specific to the individual’s needs

This can be beneficial to the company and its customers as companies can achieve better marketing and customers are exposed to products that need more, but at what costs?

Privacy

This is one of the most talked about issues Big Data. The more data companies collect, the less privacy their customers have. One example is how Target managed to find out a teenager’s pregnancy before her father was even aware.

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Target used the big data that it collected from millions of customer’s shopping patterns. These patterns can predict characteristics of Target’s customers like if they are pregnant, when they are due, whether they are having a baby boy or girl.

This can sound really creepy and the lack of privacy might be off-putting to certain individuals.

Hacking

A few weeks ago I received a text from my friend, informing me that my Facebook account was posting (possibly fake) Ray-Ban promotional pictures and tagging my Facebook friends on them.

I panicked and immediately Googled “how to remove hacker from Facebook .” I managed to secure my account and gained control of it from the hacker (hopefully).

Instances of hacking are on the rise. What I experienced was nothing compared to the threat of more malicious hackers. Hacking has become more complex with the growth of technology. Yahoo’s cyber security was breached in 2013 and 2014. The integrity of data from their 3 billion users was compromised. With these information, hackers can potentially customise their attacks to individuals, increasing the success rates of their scams.

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Technological advances that resulted in Big Data collection is paramount in this day and age. Think about what you would do without search engines like Google, or a society without credit and debit cards. These technological achievements are essential to our modern lives now. The question now is, where do we draw the line between usefulness and harmfulness?

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8 Comments

  1. Big data is similar to weapons or guns, its usefulness depends on the users and their intents. The bad guys are getting smarter and more sophisticated in utilizing big data to target its victim. Maybe it is time for us to think of a better framework to manage big data in a more secure way before thinking about how to better analyze it.

    Check out my blog too if you have time! https://sailormoonfaith.home.blog/2019/08/28/big-data-for-sme/

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I think that digital security will be an even bigger industry than it is currently. I predict that there will be an increasing number of hackers with the coming generations of digitally savvy individuals. Cyber security will thus be a huge talking point.

      Singapore recently added “Digital defense” as their 6th pillar of total defence. (https://www.straitstimes.com/singapore/digital-defence-to-be-sixth-total-defence-pillar-signalling-the-importance-of-cyber) I mean, if the Singapore government is taking it seriously, we should too. Don’t you think?

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    1. Big data is essential for IoT devices! IoT devices are connected to the internet and have the ability to transfer data from each other without manual intervention. The IoT devices generate a large amount of unstructured data which are then processed and anaylsed by analytical tools. The resulting insights allow for the IoT devices to create value to its users. For example, in the transportation sector, IoT sensors installed in vehicals track their movement and fuel usage. These data are processed and categorised into usable information that the transport authority can use to improve traffic conditions (https://www.whizlabs.com/blog/iot-and-big-data/).

      Big data and IoT are interlinked. One cannot work without the other. I hope I have answered your query. Let me know if you have any other issues to discuss!

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    1. The future of IoT is indeed exciting! We probably aren’t close to Tony Stark and JARVIS level, but think about the possibilities! Imagine your phone sounding the alarm with the curtains simultaneously opening. The water heater starting as your smart home detects you walking towards your bathroom. Your closet opening its doors as you walk towards it and your car starting its engine while you shuffle to the garage. It really sounds like the script of a sci-fi movie but there are already elements of these IoT products in the market (https://dzone.com/articles/iot-smart-home-automation-and-its-future-predictio)!

      Of course, there is the issue of security. Imagine a hacker being able to control the temperature of your water heater and having the ability to scald you when you shower. These devices must have adequate security systems put in place to prevent breaches of privacy.

      An episode on the popular series on Netflix; Black Mirror’s ‘White Christmas’ episode depicts how moral rules can be bent in the quest of an automated home system. It has nothing to do with IoT and Big Data but I suggest you check that episode out to understand a possible dystopian outcome of mankind’s quest in obtaining convenience.

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  2. Interesting read Sheng Kai! My Facebook account has been hacked before as well! I panicked quite a bit back then, but that incident taught me the importance of cyber security. I’ve been using passwords that are harder to guess. I also learned a little about the different types of hacking tools. What are some of the things ordinary users can do to protect their online so that they do not end up like you and me?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Wow you got hacked too? That makes me feel a little better. In all seriousness I found an article by Eric Plam, describing ways people can protect themselves from hackers (https://thenextweb.com/podium/2019/04/14/6-things-you-should-do-to-protect-yourself-from-hackers-but-probably-wont/). In his article, Eric mentioned that we should refrain from connect to public WiFi that we do not trust as hackers can infiltrate computers connected to the same network. Having a credible anti-virus software helps with the detection of bugs and malware in the system.

      Brute force attack is a trial and error method by application programs to decode encrypted data (https://searchsecurity.techtarget.com/definition/brute-force-cracking). Simple passwords like “password” or “password123” are exceptionally prone to this type of attack. The use of complex passwords like upper- and lower-case alphabets and special symbols like ‘!’ and ‘@’ significantly increases the time it takes for brute force attacks to guess your password.

      The digital world has become an integral part of modern life but is unfortunately not perfect. Hackers will continue to come up with ways to infiltrate digital systems and we must always be vigilant with new hacking tactics.

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