As we head into 2017, President-elect Donald Trump is stepping into the past with a suggestion to keep sensitive information private: Skip computers and send messages via human couriers instead.
At his annual New Year’s Eve bash in Palm Beach, Florida, Trump told reporters:
You know, if you have something really important, write it out and have it delivered by courier, the old-fashioned way. Because I’ll tell you what: No computer is safe.
To be fair, Trump isn’t entirely wrong: It’s awfully hard to fully protect connected devices from hackers, as the lengthy string of high-profile attacks across the globe in 2016 showed us.
However, the notion of hand-delivering top secret information is preposterous. That means involving more humans in the process, which opens up a whole new set of security risks. Plus, physical messages, whether on paper or USB drives, can be intercepted, copied and transmitted to enemies of the state.
Sure, those methods of stealing data may require vastly different tactics than what hackers currently use, but that doesn’t mean that Trump’s suggestion is more secure than using electronic devices.
The President-elect is right to worry about security, particularly in the wake of allegations against state-sponsored agents in Russia in connection with remote attacks on the Democratic party’s systems around the recently concluded US elections.
But it’s hard to believe that low-tech is the solution to this problem. Steps like enforcing strong encryption, constant surveillance across government networks and frequent reevaluation and upgradation of existing security measures should see Trump and Co. in good stead. The need for faster, more secure and private communication is only going to grow: Why fight it when you can work towards staying ahead of the curve?