Monday, September 26, 2016

Choose: your money or your data?

Today, one year ago...

 In the genre of dystopia, from “Brave New World” by Aldous Huxley, to the film “The island” by Michael Bay, the starting premise is clear: when anyone can be the enemy, everybody should be monitored closely. Perhaps the enemy is a unique individual, an isolated group or a small percentage, but if you can’t get rid of it, you better limit everyone. A mental sequence that is present in the iconography of political conspiracy, the critics to the power and messianic revolutions. A classic that sometimes can be found in the real world in higher doses rather than in fiction.

In our Monday review from one year ago, today we find a plot that Eric Blair (known by his pen name George Orwell) would have wanted for himself. A week of intense news in the field of cybersecurity, from the hunt of criminals, to their aim to get their prize (money, always money), through the baroque monitoring done by the intelligence services to the population they must defend.

We won’t get tired of saying this: the only four words that can move a criminal are “Show me the money” (three, in Spanish, “Enséñame el dinero”). We might have dreamt about an ATM giving us notes and notes, without affecting our current account. But these dreams rarely come true… Unlike nightmares: waking up in the morning with an empty bank account because someone had hacked the ATM some hours before, than can really happen in real life!

We won’t get tired of warning against the: “Well, what I have in my computer is not that important, I don’t mind if I’m hacked”. That slackness can end up in someone trying to blackmail you through emails, and you paying money in exchange for the silence of those who know about you more than you could imagine. Hi, I’m Ashley Madison.

We should be protected. And we are indeed. The cybersecurity work is incessantly done in every office that fights against cybercrime, from malware analysts in public and private sectors, to specialists hired for big cybersecurity companies. And sometimes they tell you how to stop the enemy. That’s the case of the operation Sinkhole.

Because it’s not a problem of technology. We wish it was! Eight years ago, the British secret services started an espionage operation against millions -yes, millions- of citizens, enabling them to access all their information: from their most incriminating data to the most frivolous, from the most legitimate to the most unmentionable. Everything. We found out, 365 days ago, that the UK in collaboration with the US, had been able to break the encryption of health and financial data of millions -again, millions- of citizens. News that we found out thanks to Snowden, alias the traitor, the informer or the heroe, depending on where you go into Mr. Edward’s leaks.

If anyone can set up the next botnet, perhaps we should keep everybody monitored (whatever laws say). It’s the best way to avoid future and bigger attacks. Because setting up a botnet to defend a political party, a newspaper or the Royal House seems that can be done by anyone. Although the botnet is set up in Spain, and Spanish people found out through English papers.

Could we be living a delay of 32 years and we are in 1984? Could it be reality is too complex to go asking for permission to keep evil from spreading? The matter remains open, more than ever, today, September 2016. Just in case, and because you never know in which hands your data are going fall, always remember to be cautious.

Image Original Source: Flickr.


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