Monday, August 22, 2016

Don't let your guard down: it is cyber-August

A year ago...

We usually think that nothing is happening in August because it is summertime almost everywhere. However, history is littered with important events like the atomic bombs in Hiroshima and Nagasaki or many episodes of independence in Latin America. On this day, Cadillac Motor Company was born, BBC started its first TV experiments and English Civil War started (1642). So August is not a quiet month.


And we will always remember August. It is the month when 60 Gb of information embarrassed a large amount of people. We are talking about Ashley Madison, the online dating site for married dating and extramarital affairs that was a victim of Impact Team group. The moral burden was not enough and Avid Life Media (The owning company of the website) learned that one of its executives had robbered information from a competitor that Avid had intented to buy. The thief had been stolen.

The new was published in all newspapers and there was a proliferation of attacks on particulars. You just needed to send an email with the subject "You are in Ashley Madison database"and hundreds of people would click on it just to know if it was true or not. As we can see it is not a sophisticated method but other aspects like reputation and personal honour were at stake. The cyber-criminal campaign was a clear success. It is not a joke as two suicides are linked to Ashley Madison leak.
Google was another company with a similar problem (and it seems that will be the same this year). It operating system showed tree times in a month a vulnerability that resided in the multitasking capability of the Android phone, the ability to run more than one app at a time. The majority of devices had a software made in Mountain View.

With all these attacks government takes advantage of August and proposes measures. A year ago the computer system in the Bundestag in Germany had gone completely offline to allow essential and important maintenance work to avoid recent cyberattacks they had suffered three months before when hackers found Bundestag as an open book. The Pentagon announced an optimist (?) plan to deal with DDoS attacks and claimed that those "attacks will find theirs days numbered" But they did not say the number of days...
What is really dangerous in August are not attacks or threats, is that we are not vigilant because nothing is happening in August. And of course it happens, even with more malicious intent but our role is to pick it up and publish that enemies don't go on holiday.

Original image: Freeimages

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