Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Shall we play Battleship with data from people and businesses?

Times of war are always difficult. Both soldiers and civilian need to keep themselves entertained to cope with the fear of an enemy attack. This is why these times are paradoxically very productive when it comes to create new games, as “Broadside: The Game of Naval Strategy,” which was the forefather of the Battleship board game.

You've probably played more than once to this game: Two players, two boards each. One of them to place your naval fleet, and the second one is empty waiting to gradually discovered the position of the opponent’s fleet. It is a strategy game based on triangulating enemy ships before he do the same with yours. Taking this to the real world, it could be something similar to the strategy followed by the University of Stanford to prove that a malicious app installed on a smartphone can get your geo position without GPS by just monitoring the battery drain by the device when attempting to communicate with the antennas around.

Strategy is key at all business levels. Crime industry is not an exception. Canadian telecom Rogers Communications found out that its servers had been attacked and about 400 MB of confidential documents (contracts, sensitive information of its employees and partners...) had been stolen. Attackers focused on the weakest link of the chain: the employee. Social engineering is unfortunately a winning strategy in this type of information theft.

Battleship was usually played with family or friends, but the story of the digital protection bodies is full of long games on a quite larger game board. To "sink" a botnet is very complicated since it does not remain still like the fleet of the game, but it is continuously growing and spreading. This compilation of the most active botnets in history reminds us how difficult is to fight them.

On the other side of the table it is hard to believe that only 14% of security executives (CIOs, CISOs, senior IT leaders) in 2015 report directly to the CEOs in large companies. This is what a study by Ponemon Institute says after interviewing over a thousand industry executives.

Your data, security and privacy moves in the waters of this Battleship. Are you ready?


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