There is a famous thought experiment devised by physicist Erwin Schrödinger, describing a very particular paradox in quantum physics through the experience of a cat. While Schrödinger’s cat was initially intended to demonstrate a very different phenomenon, it can also be applied to something that all businesses need to consider: their email security.
Schrödinger devised the thought experiment to combat the Copenhagen interpretation of quantum mechanics, which posited that, when unobserved, an object can exist in all states, and reverts to one if observed. In Schrödinger’s thought experiment, a cat was hypothetically shut in a box with a small enough amount of radioactive material to only have a 50/50 chance of being detected by a Geiger counter. If it was, a hammer would break open a container of poison, killing the cat. The premise was that, if the Copenhagen interpretation was correct, the cat could be assumed to be both alive and dead simultaneously until it was observed to be one or the other.
While Schrödinger’s cat was meant to discredit the Copenhagen interpretation, there is a modern version of this thought experiment that businesses should be concerned about. This version focuses on email, and the attachments that often come with it.
It is no secret that email is a very popular way for cybercriminals and other online mischief-makers to deliver their tools. If we treat emails the way that Schrodinger’s cat was approached, any email could feasibly contain a malicious threat, as well as no threats at all. The thing is, while determining if Schrödinger’s cat was alive or dead would be a relatively harmless activity (except potentially for the cat), finding out whether or not an email attachment is infected could cause quite a bit of damage to your system.
Fortunately, there are ways to protect yourself and your system against threats like email malware and phishing attempts. Antivirus and anti-malware scanners can catch many threats on their way in, and a spam blocker can help keep out many more.
If you’d rather know for sure that your inbox doesn’t contain any threats (or dead cats), let KT Connections suggest a few solutions. Give us a call at 605-341-3873.
Rodd Ahrenstorff is the Director of Business Operations for KT Connections, as well as a member of the company’s ownership team starting in 2014. Rodd has been working in the computer and telecommunication fields for over twenty years—a term during which he has held a number of leadership positions. In the past, he has served as a broadcast television engineer, an systems architect, and most recently Director of Information Technology, including a role as a HIPAA Security Officer for behavioral health and multi-specialty medical providers.