The distributed denial of service (DDoS) attack that hit the United States on Friday, October 21st. has been well documented in a number of media outlets. What hasn’t been talked about is its implication for Audiophiles and music lovers.
Most people associate hacking like a thief breaking into a building and stealing valuables or defacing something. In other words there is an attacker and a target. You might live next-door to the target but still be OK.
The October 21st attack brought a deeper, darker area of hacking to public light. A DDoS attack is much more sinister and sophisticated. Instead of attacking a building you attack something on a broader scale to cause havoc and gridlock. A real world analogy is like flooding every road in a state with cars to create complete gridlock. While stores and companies are still open you can’t get to them and they can’t get to you. In essence everything stops. Everything shuts down.
While a DDoS attack is nothing new it has been difficult to accomplish on such a large scale. Our Internet-connected devices (called the Internet of Things or IoT) were a major reason for the hack’s scale and efficiency. There are two implications for Audiophiles:
First, such attacks now threaten our basic ability to play music. With more and more of us adopting digital music services as part of our playback repertoire, any attack that interrupts our Internet service interrupts our music and entertainment library. Imagine sitting down to listen to your favorite artist from Spotify, Tidal, or Apple Music only to find that all of these services are unavailable. Imagine you’re having a party, have a date over, or are just sitting down to watch some programming and suddenly you can’t do any of those.
Second, more and more of our key components are Internet enabled. I’m not just talking about network music players. Receivers, preamplifiers, and yes, even old school amplifiers are now coming with network ports in them. Where there’s access, there’s potential. If companies aren’t careful with the security measures they take with the devices we could be in for some real problems down the road. Imagine a hacker coming in and turning your $12,000 amplifier into a paperweight. It’s not all that far-fetched.
Sure, some will argue that this is a great example of why we need physical media, that this proves that all this digital stuff is a waste, etc. etc. The bottom line is that the industry is moving ahead on its course. The ship, as they say, has sailed.
The implications for audiophiles is simple. We now live in an interconnected age. Anything that happens on the Internet isn’t just effecting your ability to get to a web site. On the contrary, the impact will hit you all the way down to your basic ability to play music.