Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Cyber threats, a question of trust

Cyber threats, a question of trust

"It's about trust. [...] Security companies like ours are built on trust.” The voice of Mikko Hypponen, the most relevant security researcher at F-Secure, didn’t tremble while he was making this statement. He tried to explain why he canceled his talk from the RSA Conference, after it was known that the company presumably make a private agreement with the NSA about using a weak encryption technology in their products.

Precisely overconfidence is the basis of most of the Internet and mobile devices scams. You install a very ‘cool’ app on your Android that promises to be a "night vision camera". Not only it doesn’t work, but it subscribes you to SMS payment services. The interesting fact about this app is that it is specifically designed to look for your phone number on Whatsapp, ChatOn or Telegram.

Linux users also are often very confident about that operating system. However, it has been discovered an extremely critical vulnerability on the widely used cryptographic codes library GnuTLS library. This bug would allow attackers to monitor connections and decode encrypted traffic between users and servers.

At this point, we could say, "do not trust security companies, do not trust  mobile apps, do not trust the invulnerability of an operating systems and also... do not trust your Facebook contacts?". Likely that is also good advice. In fact, an U.S. girl made her father lost $ 80.000 from a settlement over an age discrimination suit, when she broke the confidentiality agreement boasting about it on Facebook.

However, it is expected that the user’s blind trust begins to decrease, especially after all the personal data leaks that came to light in recent months. The jam brand Smucker's was the last to suffer the onslaught of cyber criminals who managed to infect its server with some kind of trojan in order to take over visitors’ personal data on the website.

Nevertheless if there is a place in cyberspace where trust is merely a utopia, that would be the virtual border between Ukraine and Russia. These days, security analysts are witnessing a cyber attacks escalation in both directions, with special involvement of the denial of service and hacking websites. That perfectly reflects the war tensions between the two countries.


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