Friday, February 6, 2015

Do you need to be a criminal to become rich on the Internet?

In 1976, a television miniseries called "Rich Man, Poor Man" reaped great success worldwide. Loaded with all ingredients of drama and soap opera, the plot of this miniseries recalls the current state of computer security: Two brothers, a smart and ambitious one, who is only focused on making money, and another more humane and good, but poor and quarrelsome.


Ross Ulbricht, who created the Silk Road site in the dark web, would certainly be the richest man in our film, but now there are no good news for him. His trial, which has been closely followed by the security community, finished yesterday. Ulbricht was unanimously declared guilty of drug trafficking through the Internet, conspiracy and violation of computer security. Now he awaits his sentence on 15 May that can send him over 20 years to prison.

On the other hand, Werner Koch the poor man would be, author of the popular GNU Privacy Guard (GnuPG) email encryption software, which is a very simple application for all types of operation systems, ranging from Linux to Windows or OS X. Koch has been updating its code since 1997 when he first launched it, but he has no more funds to keep the project alive. On hearing the news, yesterday Linux Foundation contributed $120,000 to pay two programmers and Facebook has also promised a few thousand dollars. Interestingly multimillion industries or the NSA use this "software" but do not give any money to its creator.

Americans RadioShack stores are also bankrupt. Well, you may wonder if they have anything to do with the topic of computer security. In fact, for many years, these stores were a meeting point for all kinds of electronics enthusiasts, including hackers. Online commerce put and end to this legendary brand, which just declared itself bankrupt.

Meanwhile cybercrime is still becoming rich by stealing money and data. As described on American press, malicious hackers gained access to health care company Anthem Inc. systems, which is the second largest health care company in USA. These cyber criminals stole large amounts of personal details (names, dates of birth, medical credentials, Social Security numbers , mailing address, email address, employment information including salaries) of 80 million customers, including its CEO Joseph Swedish.

Unfortunately there are many people trying to get power through foul play in computer networks. You just have to look at the situation in Spain, where they were detected 70.000 cyber attacks in 2014, according to Foreign Minister Jose Manuel Garcia-Margallo, which is something that does not surprise security experts.

However we got concerned about it because there is no sign of that this trendy way of becoming rich by abusing cyberspace is going to end, at least for the moment.

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