500MB is small potatoes now

This week I saw a number of articles like this one from slashgear:

Hackers stole 500MB of NASA mission systems data using Raspberry Pi

Most of the headlines highlight the 500MB, suggesting that is a huge amount of data stolen from NASA.

500MB seems like a lot. It used to be a lot. But these days it is small potatoes.

Here are a couple of examples to put 500MB into perspective.

  • Each Mars and Moon image I have been using for my augmented/virtual reality hobby start around 400-500MB.

  • 500MB is less than 1% of the storage capacity of the smallest iPhone.

  • I can download 500MB of data to my home computer in about 5 seconds.

We collect, store, and transmit so much data these days that the amount of data is largely meaningless. What matters is the nature of the data.

Just a few bytes of critical data - say the names of active spies, or the coordinates of an important but secret location - can be far more important that Gigabytes or even Terabytes of image data from the Moon or Mars.

Don’t judge a hack by the amount of data stolen.

PS. Here is what I do with some of those 500MB NASA images I download.

Apollo 11’s Tranquility Base

Galap Crater on Mars