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Taken Over By Aliens? Google Has It Covered 99

Posted by samzenpus
from the and-humanity-was-saved-by-the-biggest-search-engine dept.
swandives writes "Imagine what would happen if all the Google engineers turned rogue and held the world's Gmail accounts to ransom. Or if aliens attacked earth and wiped California off the map. Seems the folks over at Google's enterprise division have already considered these scenarios. CIO is running an article, as part of a larger interview with Google Enterprise director of security, Eran Feigenbaum. He's a fascinating guy — in his spare time he practices magic and mentalism, and you may also have heard of him as Eran Raven, a contestant from the NBC television show Phenomenon."
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Taken Over By Aliens? Google Has It Covered

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  • Surely there are bigger and better things that Google could be diverting their resources to?

    Okay, so the 'engineers turned rogue' part might work out fairly well, but seriously, aliens?

    In other news, how do I apply for a job here. I'm pretty sure I can come up with all kinds of silly scenario's - and get paid for it.
    • by Captain Hook (923766) on Tuesday August 23, 2011 @11:12AM (#37178866)
      Aliens are like zombies, they are just a placeholder for a particular type of disaster without getting hung up on the exact rules of a pre-existing disaster.

      Zombies are a biological/Social Disorder disaster Aliens would represent massive and sudden technological disaster (for example, massive communication failure with California)
      • by geekoid (135745)

        And Zombies are a HORID placeholder. There give a preconceived notion of a specific reasons and that leads to people taking preparations towards a specific respond instead of a set of possible disaster types.

        Of all the disease scenarios, zombies would be one of the best because to would be the easiest to isolate. When you are thinking 'I can see the sickness', then you have failed in preparation for disease outbreak.

        Zombie are a cure social fad leveraged for PR to draw attention to the groups that do prepar

        • And Zombies are a HORID placeholder. There give a preconceived notion of a specific reasons and that leads to people taking preparations towards a specific respond instead of a set of possible disaster types.

          So you are saying that when I read that preparing for a zombie pandemic would prepare you for other types of disasters I shouldn't have just bought a shotgun and three thousand pounds of shells?

    • by Lehk228 (705449)
      It's a way to write up a "california gets nuked" disaster plan without offending their international customers and regulators.
  • ummmm.... (Score:5, Funny)

    by nomadic (141991) <nomadicworld@nOSpAM.gmail.com> on Tuesday August 23, 2011 @10:55AM (#37178596) Homepage
    "Imagine what would happen if all the Google engineers turned rogue and held the world's Gmail accounts to ransom"

    Ummm...we can just track them down and dangle them out of a window until they agree to release the accounts? We're talking about software engineers here, not special forces commandos.
    • "dangle them out of a window until they agree to release the accounts? We're talking about software engineers here,"

      That's an awfully big crane you'd need to do this. Are you sure you want to go through with that kind of expense?

    • by IrquiM (471313)
      That is what they want you to think!

      No way all the people working at Google are all software engineers!
      • by Anonymous Coward

        True, with the recent number of google fuckups, they must have at least a few managers too.

    • by 1s44c (552956)

      "Imagine what would happen if all the Google engineers turned rogue and held the world's Gmail accounts to ransom"

      That would be too bad for google mail users, they would have to restore from their local backups. You have local backups right?

      I'd not be affected anyway as I never trusted google with my email.

      • by lgw (121541)

        Google does a better job managing their backups than I do my own. Not trusting Google with your privacy is smart, but not trusting them to manage data is silly.

    • by mcswell (1102107)

      Wasn't Neo a software engineer?

  • by JoshuaZ (1134087) on Tuesday August 23, 2011 @11:01AM (#37178694) Homepage
    An alien attack is a really unlikely scenario. Aliens aren't going to deal with the incredibly non-trivial problem of interstellar travel and then decide to go wack the primitive humans. And if they do decide to do that, they are likely to be so far advanced from us that it won't make much of a difference, since humans will be wiped so quickly that Google will be irrelevant. However, the alien scenario does two things that are good: First, a lot of the worst-case scenarios are things which one won't think of in advance. By using scenarios like the alien scenario they help cover a lot of reactions to unanticipated very bad scenarios that no one has even come up with. Second, this sort of thing helps make security wargaming fun. The fact is that a lot of standard wargaming and largescale simulations can be frightfully dull. Using something like aliens helps get people actually involved and potentially have fun with the situation, which will mean they will pay more attention and put more effort in.
    • by WillAdams (45638)

      Yeah, here's a depressing look at a much more reasonable alien invasion than the one featured in _Footfall_:

      http://www.tor.com/stories/2010/02/vilcabamba [tor.com]

      William

      • by iggymanz (596061)

        More likely that hostile star-faring aliens would kill humanity quickly with technology we can't defend against. But this notion of them coming to earth for resources is absurd. There are far more of any natural element in the asteroids. The need for water in a recent sci-fi movies was laughable, more of that in the solar system outside of earth than in, in any form you want: steam, liquid, ice (just follow comet)

        • by WillAdams (45638)

          ``Vilcabamba'' was interesting in that it tried to get this right, noting the earth as being more tectonically active than other planets, and having the aliens digging deep for materials like mercury which are unlikely to exist in the asteroids AIUI.

          On the gripping hand, that was something which _Footfall_ got right --- noting that the aliens could have done much better to have chopped up the asteroid they dropped on earth and sold it as minerals instead, but placing a psychological block against their doin

        • by geekoid (135745)

          It depend on why the are travelling.
          Large multi-generational ships would stop at a planet the was favorable to live on. It's only logical to spread the species...they would ALSO mine other sources as well.

          How many asteroids of air? food? land for expansion?

          "If a country has the resources to send a ship across the ocean, there are far more resources in the ocean so coming to our continent is absurd."

          • by Surt (22457)

            "If a country has the resources to send a ship across the ocean, there are far more resources in the ocean so coming to our continent is absurd."

            That's not a fair comparison because the shipbuilder doesn't necessarily have the technical capacity to mine the oceans, whereas the spaceship builder is guaranteed the technical capacity to mine the asteroids.

    • by dkleinsc (563838)

      Besides, if the Earth is completely uninhabitable, Google can just retreat to their moon base [google.com].

    • Yeah, like humans who discovered how to make ships and navigation equipment didn't promptly use the technology to subjugate the natives of other continents and hunt all sorts of animals to extinction.

    • by Ihmhi (1206036)

      Things like "Alien Invasion" and "Zombie Pandemic" are often used in war colleges to encourage creative thinking in developing combat plans.

      It's not entirely insane. Say someone at Google designs a plan on what to do if an EMP is detonated over California (i.e. a nuke going off at high altitude). Crazy and pretty unlikely, but say a solar flare smacks the shit out of California and exactly that happens. Welp, as unlikely as the first scenario was they now have a plan.

  • by Joe_Dragon (2206452) on Tuesday August 23, 2011 @11:02AM (#37178702)

    what about the san Andreas fault going off and makeing CA split off from the rest of the usa?

    • by Leobinus (782479)

      what about the san Andreas fault going off and makeing CA split off from the rest of the usa?

      I'm in favor of this scenario. In fact, I don't even think we should wait for the San Andreas fault to make its move.

    • by geekoid (135745)

      That can't happen.

    • by lennier (44736)

      what about the san Andreas fault going off and makeing CA split off from the rest of the usa?

      That's why FEMA keeps Superman on the payroll!

      Now, the much more likely scenario of Superman going Zod and installing a puppet President while he creates a utopian mutant state - that's why FEMA keeps _Batman_ on the payroll.

      If Batman goes rogue? Well, there's this guy down in Special Forces with purple hair and a big grin, very good with wetwork...

    • what about the san Andreas fault going off and makeing CA split off from the rest of the usa?

      I thought San Andreas was already split off from the rest of the USA, unless you get Vice City or other mods.... need controller back.

  • aliens are more technically advanced than us.
    • why do we assume aliens are more technically advanced than us.

      Because they have proven to be so. For example, Japanese or Korean people, who would be aliens if on U.S. soil, are said to have access to far faster Internet connections than U.S. natives. And China already has electronics manufacturing know-how that the United States no longer has [slashdot.org].

    • by shish (588640)
      The obvious answer is "space travel is hard" - but then I wonder, what are the possibilities of a zerg / tyranid style race existing? I would love for some biologists / physicists to chip in, but until they do, my own thoughts are that it would be really hard for a planet to sustain life with practically no gravity, and an animal wouldn't be able to jump out of orbit if gravity was anything significant; and then on the landing side, any planet that could sustain life would need some sort of atmosphere, so t
    • we assume that aliens who would be able to cross space are more technically advanced than us since we have not mastered that technology yet.

      FTFY

  • After reading that they've hired a reality TV "psychic" as their director of security, I'm suddenly feeling that it might be the right time to part ways with my investment there.

    Not that I'm saying Google is easy to con or anything. I'm sure this guy's non-reality-show qualifications as a security expert are impeccable and that he's not at all a con-man shyster who has totally played a bunch of sucker-ass marks in the top ranks of Google at all.

    • It'd be OK if he's a Randi or Penn Teller style magician-entertainer, very bad if he's a Uri Gellar type conman. I'll give them the benefit of the doubt that they wouldn't have hired the latter kind.

      • by elrous0 (869638) *

        It'd be OK if he's a Randi or Penn Teller style magician-entertainer, very bad if he's a Uri Gellar type conman.

        Well, seeing as Uri Gellar was actually a judge on his reality show [wikipedia.org] (I kid you not), I tend to suspect the latter.

        You know, it's always the MARK that I have the least respect for in a con.

        • by geekoid (135745)

          "You know, it's always the MARK that I have the least respect for in a con."

          that you are an idiot. anyone can be conned. I suspect its the victim you have the least respect for in a rape.

          Anyways, you should ahve read that link.

          Angel said "No one has the ability, that I'm aware of, to do anything supernatural, psychic, talk to the dead. And that was what I said I was going to do with Phenomenon. If somebody goes on that show and claims to have supernatural psychic ability, I'm going to bust them live and on

          • by elrous0 (869638) *

            Angel said "No one has the ability, that I'm aware of, to do anything supernatural, psychic, talk to the dead. And that was what I said I was going to do with Phenomenon. If somebody goes on that show and claims to have supernatural psychic ability, I'm going to bust them live and on television

            Criss Angel said that. And he was apparently the only non-believer on the show (or the only one who would admit to it). In fact, one of the series most famous moments was when he butted heads with one of the "psychics" on the show.

          • by lennier (44736)

            A mentalist is a great person to hire for security, because they know how people think and behave.

            Plus, they're mental as anything.

      • I love logic as much as the next guy, but ...

        Oh please. Like Randi is the bastion of objective, constructive criticism, and logical thinking. He's a pseudo skeptic at best and a closed-minded dishonest irrational rationalists at worst.

        http://www.debunkingskeptics.com/Page30.htm [debunkingskeptics.com]

        • I stopped reading after this line in the first paragraph :

          "...attacked the reputation of psychics and healers such as Israeli-born spoon bender Uri Geller..."

          Anyone over the age of 12 who is impressed by Geller's parlor tricks is a braindead idiot. Of course they aren't beyond hope they could redeem themselves if only, oh the irony of it, they would "open their minds" to the existence of a rational explanation.

          • Translation: "I'm too closed-minded to actually view the _entire_ evidence and THEN make up my mind; instead I'll toss the baby out with the bathwater."

            • Actually, no. My mother was quite "into" astrology and other stuff so we had a lot of books and magazines on all kinds of supernatural things around. Being an avid reader I read tons of this nonsense when I was younger (including a lot on Geller, who was quite popular in the 80's.) Then in my teenage years, when X-Files was the popular thing, I read a lot about UFO's. Finally now I'm an adult and have heard both sides on all of these topics, have lived enough to have experience to throw into the mix and hav

              • > Finally now I'm an adult and have heard both sides on all of these topics,
                That's your problem right there -- you're listening to other people, instead of ...

                > have lived enough to have experience to throw into the mix ... coming to conclusions based on experience. Which experiences??

                The only way to truely know god is to experience her/him. How can you even begin to understand god while you are still ignorant of your Higher Self ??

                • > Finally now I'm an adult and have heard both sides on all of these topics,
                  That's your problem right there -- you're listening to other people, instead of ...

                  No man is an island. You listen to the evidence put forth by others and you weigh it, check it for inconsistencies and flaws where you can, you add your own facts. That's science, it's the best method we have.

                  > have lived enough to have experience to throw into the mix ... coming to conclusions based on experience. Which experiences??

                  Life, all the facts you pick up along the way, all things you measure and the things you find that you can't. All the things you proved for yourself or have others prove to you and all the bullshit people try to sell you "on faith" that turns out to be worthless.

                  The only way to truely know god is to experience her/him. How can you even begin to understand god while you are still ignorant of your Higher Self ??

                  I need evidence, someone else's "revelat

    • by gad_zuki! (70830)

      >After reading that they've hired a reality TV "psychic" as their director of security

      Right, because its so much more reasonable to believe in a 2,000 year old carpenter who came back to life, a viscious Arab warlord who spoke to god, or a Jew who split the sea.

      Turns out most humans are incredibly irrational when it comes to their basic beliefs about life, history, and death.

      • by elrous0 (869638) *

        Are you actually arguing that it's okay to believe in stupid shit just because stupid shit is popular?

        I really don't think people are getting the significance here. Google has hired a TV psychic as the HEAD OF SECURITY FOR THEIR APPS DIVISION. If it were April 1st, I would think that was a joke.

        What's next, Apple appointing John Edward to replace Steve Jobs when he dies (because he can still commune with him in death, presumably)?

    • I'll give you $0.50 /share
  • A magician in charge of security? Sounds reasonable. Now you see it... NOW YOU DON'T!

  • That's a really good probing question!
  • When Sysadmins Ruled the Earth [baens-universe.com] by Cory Doctorow is rather tongue-in-cheek but Google features prominently in this particular end of the world scenario..
    • by Yamioni (2424602)
      I read that as "When Simians Ruled the Earth". Though I suppose in most cases that wouldn't be incorrect.
  • "(Discussing our first contact with aliens) is a bit like iguanas on the Galapagos Islands sitting around trying to figure out how to treat the first human visitors. Should we offer them dead flies, or live flies? Shall we line up the flies in a row? How shall we defend ourselves? All of that is irrelevant."
                    -- Seth Shostak, SETI

    • seems quite sensible.

    • by jjk3 (812808)

      I'm disappointed that someone for SETI would say such a thing, because it is totally relevant.

      If humans showed up to the Galapagos and the iguanas lined up flies in a row, tried to offer them flies, or other signed of intelligence then they would of treated them much differently then if they acted like any other non-sentient animal.

      I'm not saying they would have treated them the better, just different.

    • by lennier (44736)

      How shall we defend ourselves? All of that is irrelevant

      Not really. If you asked Amazon piranhas a few thousand years ago how they planned to defend themselves against the first human visitors, their answer would probably be "Bite them, like everything else".

      Sometimes simple solutions work the best.

  • Or if aliens attacked earth and wiped California off the map.

    Well, I imagine many companies could save a decent chunk of money every year by not having to put "Contains fairydust known to the state of California to cause cancer."

  • That second link in the OP reads just like an advertisement for Google Cloud services. They didn't even try to make it look like a technical discussion. Maybe that's what is meant by "transparent"?
  • No biggie. According to a machine on the DOD network a nuclear missile is pointed at the Google campus.

Brain fried -- Core dumped

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