An Era Of Weaponized Media?
In my last article, I touched on a pretty basic concept: that just as social media can fuel political and social upheaval (or healing, as we see with the Japan disaster), it can have the same effect for brands. Nobody has argued with me on this. Yet.
As I think further on the subject - and witness new media technologies unleashed at a blistering rate - what's implied in that concept is a very real near-future threat of "weaponized" media applications with the prime objective of spreading panic, fear and uncertainty. Perhaps chaos would be an end in itself... or, it could just as easily be a diversion that opens the door for something more devastating.
To be a true war, an arsenal is needed. While social media may be an A-bomb, lobbing thought-grenades and splattering memes all over the place, more focused "sniper" technologies are emerging on the public media scene with interesting—and perhaps deadly serious—implications.Check out this video. A hacker—seemingly effortlessly—overrides the video signal on a Times Square screen, using relatively low-cost, readily available tech. His makeshift "video gun" interrupts the real-time video feed and replaces it with... well, whatever he damn well pleases.
The question right now isn't whether it's real or not. It's that the idea has entered the hacker mindset and when that happens, solutions aren't far behind. (Note: screens are also vulnerable to internal sabotage and web-based hacking, depending on the system).
It seems we may have moved from disruptive media to disruptive messaging. It had to happen sooner or later, but what are the potential consequences?
While I'm not an alarmist by nature, there are enough extremists of every stripe (from Al Qaeda to the self-described "culture jammers" at Adbusters) to give this idea a good shot... so to speak. And they're a lot less friendly than Daniel Lyons (Fake Steve Jobs ) who was able to pretend to be Steve Jobs online for about a year.Continued on the next page