December 23rd, 2020 by admin
What happened in 2020? No really, what happened?! Between a global pandemic, wildfires, civil unrest, and murder hornets that vanished as quickly as they appeared... I was stumped.
As this year came to a close and I realized that 2020 can't hurt me anymore (knocks on wood) I decided to dig in, and trace some of the biggest plot holes of 2020 to their nefarious ends. I've got newspapers and photos tacked to my wall, with strings leading to every angle, and every unresolved question mark. I bought myself a trench coat and a magnifying glass, embraced the chaos, and then finally, when I actually wanted to get something done, I Googled it. The detective is in, and ready to report.
Murder Hornet - Where did he come from, where did he go?
Late April and early May, the arrival of Asian giant hornets (MURDER HORNETS) in the US becomes widely known and the reports spread through the internet faster than an Australian brushfire (too soon?). These hornets are 2 inches long, possess venom deadly enough to kill a human, and can take down an entire hive of honey bees in a few hours by decapitating them with their mandibles.
If you haven't seen the videos of these hornets in action, think Jerry Seinfeld's "Bee Movie" directed and written by the creators of King Kong and Nightmare on Elm Street. If queen bees told horror stories to their larvae at night to keep them from misbehaving, murder hornets would be the top of the list. Unfortunately the hornets could be highly destructive for the American Honeybee population, and if Environmental Biologists told horror stories at night to their larvae, murder hornets would be at the top of their lists as well.
Asian giant hornets seemed to slip out of the mainstream media in recent months, so what exactly happened to them and what are they plotting next? According to Deseret News, murder hornets have yet to make their full debut in the US. Scientists are predicting they might make a home in Washington and Oregon and spread throughout the West Coast in the next 20 years. I'm not sure it's come to this yet, but we might need to prep an audience with the queen, and surrender to our hornet overlords.
Australian Brushfires - It wasn't too soon!
Just in time to save face for my joke in poor taste, the Australian wildfires have been extinguished and things are returning to normal for the nation that can't decide if it's a country, or a continent. The last fire in a 10-month fire spree was in May, and has since been extinguished by some very brave and hardworking people. Finally, some good news in a very difficult year worldwide.
Drones, We Should've Known
At the start of the year there were dozens of reports in Colorado and Nebraska of mysterious drones flying at night. The drones were in formation, in groups of 6-12, making patterns in the night sky. As reports continued, local law enforcement, and federal and military agencies tried to piece together exactly what was going on, without success. (None of their investigators even own a magnifying glass, pathetic.)
Sheriffs in Colorado stated that the drones don't seem to be malicious, and they are not violating local laws. However, according to Wikipedia, federal law states it is illegal to do the following without a waiver:
- Fly drones at night
- Fly drones for long distances
- Fly drones in formation
- Flying at altitudes higher than 400 feet
Intriguingly, while no local laws were being broken, these drone flying rapscallions were breaking nearly every federal law in the book! It's as if a bunch of vagabond drone pilots got together and used the federal handbook "What not to do with your new drone" as some kind of checklist for their peculiar crime spree. Surely, some government 9-5 is getting grilled for letting these guys walk… or fly.
I'm as confused by their motivation, as I am impressed by their valor.
I'd struck a dead end with the investigation, the trail was cold, and my contacts were too. Was I getting too close to the truth?! Or were they offended by my jokes on their lack of magnifying glasses? A lesser detective than myself might have given up at this point. The most compelling explanations were for military exercises. Why not stop there, take a puff of my Cuban, and be home in time for the holidays? However, reporters were unable to confirm this theory and it was, allegedly, denied by the US Air-force. Then it hit me, like the kick of my .357 Magnum- that's exactly what the Air-force would have said, if their inter-dimensional prisoners had escaped the lab and manifested a cry for help to the mothership. With immense satisfaction, and a proud tear in my eye, I ran a string from my crayon-sketch of drones, to the final conclusion. Aliens.
Viruses and Viruses
No recap of 2020 would be complete without a COVID-19 mention. The virus has brought us together in some areas and frankly, torn us apart in others. But I never would have guessed that people would be so responsive on a global scale, and capable of drastic change to this extent. It hasn't been easy but I know we will get through this, and humanity is finally learning a valuable lesson that nature has been trying to teach us for thousands of years; bats are just bird rats, flying disease-ridden rodents from hell, not a snack for casual consumption.
COVID-19 is not the only Virus on the rise, and while the evidence of my 2020 conspiracy theory investigation burns in the dumpster downtown, we've got a 2020 report on malware to close out the year on a tech note.
Detections of Malware targeting businesses are up 13%, but consumer-targeted malware detections are down. Detections for Mobile devices continue to increase year after year and this trend is expected to continue.
The attacks targeting businesses are becoming more sophisticated and more likely to involve precise, multi-step intrusion methods. Hackers are combining malware and social engineering to come up with new ways to steal money or data. Mobile devices are being targeted more frequently every year and it's more important than ever to increase security on them. As businesses worldwide move to remote workspaces during the Covid-19 pandemic, cybercriminals are using new combinations of old strategies to get a foothold into the networks of small and medium businesses. Security awareness and training for remote workers, security software for remote end points, and secure VPN access to remote work environments are the best ways to combat the new exploitative trends put forward by cybercriminals this year.
Remember to wash your hands, social distance and update your devices. Viruses might be scary, but remember, you're a lot bigger than they are and they are just as scared of you, as you are of them. Have a wonderful holiday season, and an even better end to this insane year!