Posted by: crudbasher | June 4, 2012

An Example Of Empowering The Creative

In my most recent post, I talked quite a bit about who will most benefit from the Internet driven world we live in. If you haven’t read it I’ll summarize my conclusion: The ones who will benefit will be creative people.

Imagine my surprise today to see a story that perfectly supports my assertion.

The article (below) is quite long so I can summarize it here. Many parts of the world’s industrial infrastructure is controlled by computers. These are not computers in the traditional sense (with a keyboard and mouse), instead these are embedded computers. For example, an oil refinery has hundreds of miles of pipelines. To control the flow of oil through them requires many valves and pumps, each of which is controlled by built in (embedded) computer controllers. Over the last 20 years these devices have been connected together into networks, and then in many cases the networks have been connected (sometimes by accident) to the Internet at large.

The story below is about a high school student who was curious about embedded controllers on the net. Through lots of self directed learning and research he developed a new search engine that finds online embedded controllers. The scary part is that hackers are now realizing that they can do more than just steal information.

Check out these pictures of an industrial accident caused by embedded controllers. While this wasn’t caused by hackers, it’s only a matter of time before one is.

Before (H/T Jeff Nolan)

After (H/T Jeff Nolan)

A high school student doing something cool with computers is not a new thing. The fact his work can have world wide ramifications is new. Oh, and what is the best quote from the article? “I just thought it was cool”.

Here’s a video if you are interested in the dam accident.

    • It began as a hobby for a ­teenage computer programmer named John Matherly, who wondered how much he could learn about devices linked to the Internet.

      After tinkering with code for nearly a decade, Matherly eventually developed a way to map and capture the specifications of everything from desktop computers to network printers to Web servers.

    • He called his fledgling search engine Shodan, and in late 2009 he began asking friends to try it out. He had no inkling it was about to alter the balance of security in cyberspace.
    • “I just thought it was cool,” said Matherly, now 28.

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

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