Who is the greatest comic book superhero? Batman? The Flash? Ironman? Captain America? Spiderman? I’m partial to Wonder Woman myself (thank you, Linda Carter, for some wonderful memories; you’re still the best).
In any listing of superheroes I would have to go with Superman. He just has too many super powers, and that ability to look like a completely different person just by putting on a pair of glasses is killer. With all those powers would Superman be able to protect us from hackers and those who would take our data and money?
Evil. Is. Everywhere.
Evil in the 21st century isn’t always in the form of a crazy person with an automatic weapon. Countries around the world employ and empower teams of hackers to scour the internet to exploit security weaknesses which could be used to take your personal information, empty your bank account, and steal credit card numbers.
If governments, large multi-national corporations, and the rich and famous cannot buy 100-percent protection from cyber-thieves, and they cannot, then what of the rest of us? Who can we trust to protect us?
I’m going with the only superhero I can afford.
Let’s run down the list of those technology behemoths and their approach to making our online lives easier and more secure.
Google – This is laughable. Google itself relies on you coughing up personal data in exchange for a bunch of free apps, including email, in exchange for the privilege of tracking your whereabouts online, rummaging through your email and data, and then selling it to make money on advertising. Google’s playful, colorful new logo belies the fact that the company is doing everything possible– not to secure your personal information from prying eyes– but to become the prying eyes.
Microsoft – This company is almost as laughable as Google. Remember, Windows bred a whole industry of security apps; tools to scan your PC for malware infections more often than not brought about by using Windows itself. Now Microsoft wants customers to pay a monthly subscription fee to use their products and to store personal and business data on their cloud servers. Uh, no thanks.
Samsung – Yeah, I know, laughability is the order of the day. There’s Apple Pay, Android Pay, and now Samsung Pay. Of course, Samsung is the same company that steals intellectual property and designs from other companies whenever it can, many of the company’s highest executives have gone to jail for criminal acts and fraud, and Galaxy maker has few qualms about lying and cheating to make their products look better on benchmark tests, but you get the idea.
Apple – The Mac, iPhone, iPad maker doesn’t seem to care much about my personal information and doesn’t make those vast and growing profits tracking me. I like that. Apple does not even seem to care about my personal data, some of which gets stored online in iCloud. Apple’s iPhone and iPad can be fully protected with end-to-end encryption and a password. Files on my Mac can be locked down by FileVault. No password. No files.
Get the idea?
Google’s claim to fame, revenue, and profits is old fashioned search engine results and advertising. All the talk of futuristic research and development, camera glasses (creepy), and autonomous self-driving vehicles are nothing more than a smokescreen to obscure what Google is really all about. Taking information from users and turning it into a profit.
Microsoft’s approach seems to bridge the apparent gap between Google and Apple. Microsoft sells software and hardware. But Microsoft also has a search engine business (they just haven’t figured out how to make money on it), and an online telephone company (Skype) which knows where you are, who you call, and it wouldn’t surprise me if they know what you’re talking about.
Samsung is just a criminal-like company and why anyone outside of South Korea would buy a Samsung product is beyond me. The name is so bad as a brand that in Japan Samsung sells their Galaxy smartphone without using the Samsung name.
That leaves Apple, a company whose products seem to be more secure. A company whose business model doesn’t rely on knowing much about me. A company whose profits come when I buy something they make, so they have a vested interest in keeping me happy and secure.
If Superman were a real, live superhero I have little doubt that he would carry an iPhone in a pouch in his cape, and use a Mac when he returned to the Fortress of Solitude at the end of the day.