This year thankfully avoided any world-breaking ransomware attacks like NotPetya. It even had some small victories, like GitHub beating back the biggest DDoS attack in history. Still, online threats are manifold, lurking and evolving, making the internet a more hostile place than ever.
The biggest threats online continued to mirror the biggest threats in the real world, with nation states fighting proxy battles and civilians bearing the brunt of the assault. In many cases, the most dangerous people online are also the most dangerous in the real world. The distinction has never mattered less.
Set aside, if you can, the deep absurdity of the language. The episode was a reminder that Trump is perhaps the only human on Earth who could quite literally start a nuclear war with a tweet, and that he seems decidedly not to care.
Whiletensions with North Korea have subsided—for now—Trump has used the internet to other ill effects, from potentialwitnesses tampering in federal investigations, to constantly undermining the credibility of the media, to announcingunilateral military action without any apparent thought for the consequences.
Trump has shown in 2018 that he doesn’t need to cause Armageddon in a single tweet to do damage. He can simple use his social pulpit to whittle away at democratic norms, 280 characters at a time.