Friday, February 28, 2014

The roses of the ‘ugly duckling’

What do roses have to do with “ugly ducklings”? Let's see. "Rose is a rose is a rose is a rose." Is it a broken record? No: the aphorism of poem "Sacred Emily' which, on the most literary experts’ opinion, expresses the principle of identity. Putting it in plain words, "Rose is a rose..." would mean that things are what they are. Are you sure? Always? Everything?

Identity is a debatable issue, at least in our digital era. Or something to be redefined. That was the approach of the initial speech at the RSA Conference, which concludes today, by the executive chariman of RSA, Arthur W. Coviello: "The rapid growth of cloud, social and mobile technology is leading us toward a breakpoint in how we protect and manage our identity."

But in this RSA Conference, the most voluminous of its history (25,000 attendees, 550 speakers), an "ugly duckling" has been found: an Android application which several researchers have found some vulnerabilities in. It is true that this app has not been developed by the firm itself, but by a third party. Nevertheless It would be nice to check what others are doing on your behalf if you consider yourself as "the place where the world comes to security" (as Coviello himself says in the initial paper).

The following story also address the subject of "ugly ducklings" that will end up becoming swans: F-Secure says that the governments are out of control when it comes to the creation of malwareIt's early yet to know what the consequences of successive Wikileaks-Snowden earthquakes will be, but it is certain that after them, the "intelligence" campaigns carried out by Governments are not exactly welcomed.

Another story of "ugly ducklings": Apple left in the lurch 20% of its devices, since it withdraw support to the 10.6 version of its operating system, better known as Snow Leopard. And it is not because they have not been able to listen to massive criticism towards its competitor Microsoft for stopping Windows XP support.

Against those who think that it is too "expensive" to maintain the user experience, we have swans such as the Non-profit organization 'Media Development Investment Fund’ (MIDF), which plans to launch one hundred mini-satellites to space in order to achieve global WiFi coverageWill providing Internet access to all of humanity be cheaper than maintaining support for not too old versions of operating systems? Curious, curious, curious.

Anyway, if anyone is still lost about this field, the prestigious Wired magazine released a glossary on cybersecurity one week ago. Maybe in a few years there will be another concepts, maybe these ones will not be acceptable, or whatever it was, it is not anymore. But for today it is a good starting point to find out what we mean when we refer to APT, BYOD, CERT, DNS, Exploit, or IoE.

If you do not want to be “the ugly duckling" of the 21st century, you may have some basic notions about it ;-)


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