"If money didn't exist, would you work?"
Well, its too late to ask that question, but it leads to an interesting sequence. Money does exist, and it does facilitate almost everything that constitutes what we call "life". Most of our lives are either spent either earning it or spending it, and "securing our futures".
So far, so good? Not really. When nobody was watching, time flew and a few things changed. Banks moved from being big storage vaults for gold to being not-so-big storage vaults for small personal belongings, jewelery and paper. Most banks today won't even have enough paper / coin currency to bankroll a quick one-way trip to the nearest country with a non-extradition treaty. Alright, maybe that was a stretch, but although paper money hasn't been relegated to a museum just yet, its on its way there.
So, what's "money" today? A lot of ephemeral data that moves very quickly over very large distances to make for some very large transactions very quickly. Sounds like exactly the kind of surreal stuff that would make some bankers from the early 1900s laugh, doesn't it? It is. Unfortunately, the lax security over some of the networks that funnel all this critical data from one place to another makes many among the digital underground laugh as well. And that's your money they're laughing at. Care to laugh along?
Before networks and email became commonplace, people used to trust a face, a handshake, a signature in fresh ink and paper copies in triplicate. Now, we trust "mechanisms that enforce non-repudiation". And there's cascaded trust. "Because you trust him and I trust you, I trust him". Trust chains like these stretch wide and long. And you know what they say about chains..."They're only as strong as their weakest link". A Trojan masquerading as an "electronic greeting card application", sent via email to a system administrator with an I-dont-really-care-about-security-because-only-I-control-this-system attitude on one of these trusted systems would be all it would take to make someone on the other end of the world very rich - with your money.
If I were to throw a quick recipe together, I would recommend three parts of not shrugging security off as an extra, two parts of proactive security awareness, and one part of consciously implementing safeguards.
Talk about long-winded introductions...
Alright, here's the skinny. I'm a security-conscious, gadget-loving, deal-seeking, amateur photographer wannabe with a flair for all things tech.
If all that didn't help paint a picture, I'll be glad to wax eloquent in an email!