Monday, October 24, 2016

The final countdown in cybersecurity

Today, one year ago...

In the spring of 1986, and against the initial will of the members of the Swedish band that had composed the song: the single ‘The Final Countdown’ was released to the world. This song has become a cultural icon in many places around the world, especially Western Europe. The “final countdown” by the group Europe, tells the journey of a space trip in the obligation to leave the Earth, and this serves us as a hook for our particular countdown in our Monday review about the issues that were in the news one year ago. Three, two one… Ignition!


Because like a countdown, one year ago we had a “Three, two, one…”. Three pieces of relevant news were about data leaks, two about cryptography, and one issue about Asterix the Gaul. Let’s go by parts and focus on the first one: the British Internet provider TalkTalk suffered a theft of up to 4 million records of critical customer information. A robbery in which we find everything: from names and telephone numbers to credit cards, and a lot of information non-encrypted, as the company admitted. 
Very quickly, many groups attributed the responsibility for the attack. In less than 24 hours, some suspects requested their reward: 80.000 pounds to return the information. At the same time, we were hearing about the economic agreement between Sony Pictures Entertainment and its employees to pay to resolve a lawsuit by employees who claimed their personal data was stolen in a 2014 hack tied to the studio’s release of “The Interview”, a political satire comedy film about North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un. “The Interview” and the procedure, one year later, proves that some episodes can take a lot of time to end.

Like we mentioned before, a year ago we discussed two cases related to cryptography. One was the argument between Apple California and the US administration regarding the information that was contained in the iPhone devices and the ability to unlock them. In this saga, a year ago Apple told a judge in the United States that even for the company it was impossible to get to the user’s device. And when we think of fights with the US administration, we always think of this acronym: the NSA. Well, a year ago we also recommended reading an investigation by Antonio Quirantes, explaining how the NSA had disabled cryptography on the Internet.

And now that we are talking about the NSA, it is almost impossible not to think about the “whistle blowers”: Julian Assange and Edward Snowden. Their leaks are the inspiration for the creators of Asterix and the plot of his last adventure: the Caesar’s Papyrus, that was released over a year ago.

Three, two, one... Ignition!



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