It’s the future. Not the distant one: just a few years away from now, really.
The drive home doesn’t feel so arduous, in place helped by changing the settings to fully automated and putting a film on through the cars in-built WIFI.
Fast and Furious 12. Not great and featured a tired looking Vin Diesel, but appropriate considering the setting. Social media buzzes away in the background. Half way through the movie, a video call interrupts the content. You answer and it’s your boss. He’s become a road warrior, heading from one meeting to another and using his car as an office to write up notes, as his vehicle’s computer takes controls of the reins.
You get home and the life coach on your wrist gives you an alert. It tells you your daily activity, the last time you drank and ate, how many calories you’ve consumed, what your evening agenda is and what time you should go to bed. In part, you resent it; you feel that much of your choice has now been telegraphed and taken away from you, but this is the reality now. Connected living.
Your heating is smart. Your fridge is smart. You turn your oven on and off from the controls on your wrist. Everything is connected. You feel like you’re somewhat wired into the machine, only wires are archaic. Nothing is wired anymore.
The next morning you get up to freshly made coffee, the news alerts flash up on your devices. You put on your wearables and get into your car to start the day. As you switch the car to fully automated, the screen flickers and becomes distorted. The car door’s and window’s lock. The engine powers down. You paw at the buttons frantically but it’s in vain. A screen you don’t recognize flashes up. It shows a sinister image. You panic, before something disturbs it. You reach for your phone to dial support when you notice the same image on its front. Everything is connected. Everything is locked.
The phone jolts into life and makes a call. You answer nervously. A kind sounding female voice on the other end of the phone informs you that you’ve been targeted in a ransomware attack and that you must pay a fine to have your devices unlocked. She’s polite and says this in a very matter of fact way, which throws you. “This isn’t your fault, she tells you; it’s merely the reality of life.”
“You’re a high earner; you have nice things. This will barely make an impression; it’s just a small fee. Pretend you’re giving it charity”, she says.
“The price increases every five minutes. There’s no way out of this; we have control.”
You enter your details via the payment screen that has appeared on your phone and the power starts back into your devices. You’re understandably cross. ‘I should have run the updates,’ you moan. You’ve been had, but eventually, you shrug your shoulders.
It’s ransomware of the future. And it’s a billion-dollar industry.
Image Credit: Copyright: cheskyw / 123RF Stock Photo