Thursday, November 7, 2013

If you're going to San Francisco

“If you're going to San Francisco / Be sure to wear some flowers in your hair / If you're going to San Francisco / You're gonna meet some gentle people there”. Will the cybersecurity leaders from over 40 countries who are meeting this week the Californian city have listened to this mythical song by Scott McKenzie?

We can’t imagine them with flowers in their hair. But the Chinese Minister of Information and Propaganda Department Director, Cai Mingzhao, went to the meeting in easy-going way that evokes more the hippy era than the world headquarters of technology: “In cyberspace, all countries face the same problems and ultimately share the same fate,” he said. And therefore he urged to establish new international rules of behavior. That’s an idea immediately discarded by the US State Department cyberissues coordinator, Christopher Painter.

With flowers in their hair or not, the reality is that governments and business are spending on cybersecurity round one trillion dollars annually. In order to get a clear image, that would represent GDP of a country like Spain. Added that number to the number of cyberattacks confirmed by federal agencies in the U.S. alone, it takes the Washington Post to wonder when this issue will become a campaign topic in the politician’s agenda. A campaign currently lead by some well-known companies like Facebook and Microsoft which are jointly driving and Internet Flaw Rewards Program: "We owe these individuals an enormous debt and believe it is our duty to do everything in our power to cultivate a safe, rewarding environment for past, present, and future researchers", they say.

You may find some gentle people in San Francisco, as McKenzie’s song says. But the Internet is another story. If you were asking for the ID to those you meet on your way you'd find two different realities: one, most are machines, and two, most are designed to hurt. Firm Incapsula has monitored 1.4 million attempts to access certain websites and... only 20,000 (less than 1.5%) were legitimate attempts, while the rest came from bots trying to pose as someone else.

Identity management is one of the three major current threats that specialist Vick Vaishnavi has identified for Forbes. The other two would be the "Malicious" and the "fraudulents". To sum up, those are hacktivists and cybercriminals. The three threats come together when we talk about money. Do not forget that we are heading toward a world in which it is estimated that one billion people made ​​most of their payments online and via mobile devices by 2017. Will bank employees disappear then? GFT Technologies does not think so. In fact, it believes that banking advisers will be even more necessary, whether or not they wear flowers in their hair, or even if they are not gentle people of San Francisco.

“Si vas a San Francisco, asegúrate de llevar flores en la cabeza; si vas a San Francisco, encontrarás alguna gente amable”. ¿Habrán hecho caso a esta canción mítica de Scott McKenzie los líderes en ciberseguridad de más de 40 países que se ven esta semana las caras en la ciudad californiana?

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