Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Cybersecurity: classic myths and common sense

Today, one year ago...

Born in 1901 in Berlin and getting the USA nationally later, Marlene Dietrich is considered one of the greatest myths of the Seventh Art. Apart from her participation in the big screen, she was a political activist that gave us quotes to remember like: "The imagination exaggerates, the mind underestimates and the common sense moderates". Eleven words that almost any cybersecurity expert would endorse, whether being in the bad or the good side (or both, which is possible too). Neither magnifying the risks nor despising them: placing each risk in the better place is the best tip. 


 

This quote is still worth it today, as it was worth it one year ago, when the news related to cybersecurity seemed to claim the prevalence of common sense over any other way of facing the situations involved. Thus, we find an F-Secure report about logging automatically on certain platforms through other services such as Facebook. After a long debate, the text said: “Yes, but no”. That is to say: the login via Facebook is safe, but it is better to take certain precautions before doing so from any website that requests it.
Sometimes, the most elementary notions of common sense just blow up. For instance, if your company is the gateway to hundreds of thousands of applications for one of the most widespread software on the planet, you should pass the renewal of certain certificates, shouldn’t you? Well, that’s what happened to Apple in the middle of November 2015. The mess was huge because all the Mac Store apps suddenly stopped working. What a fright! (A fright that could have been avoided).

Continuing with the debate about common sense, let’s talk about the one around the encryption that happened this time last year. With the recent attacks in Paris, we began to hear opinions about how little useful was for police investigations the existence of legal loopholes (or guarantees) that suspects (or citizens) could encrypt their communications to act against the laws (or protect them according to the law). In the normal font, you can read one of the parts of the debate (and in brackets what the other part says). Give each one the accent you think is best (or believe you have the duty to do so).

Trying to square the circle, sometimes this debate makes things easier to cybercrime. A report by Kaspersky Lab, 365 days ago now, insisted on an unpleasant aspect of this disastrous industry: between beaches and carnival, some of the most valued 'jewels' of the cybercrime world come from the Brazilian black market, a place of creation of malware.  

By the way, the report gave us the title for a post that generated a lot of controversies. ‘How well cybercriminals live’. The controversy? Someone that maybe read it without applying Dietrich’s quote: common sense. 


Image source: Wikimedia.

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