Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Between past and future

Today, one year ago...

'Back to the future' (1985) is a science fiction film written and directed by Robert Zemeckis and produced by Steven Spielberg. It is about a teenager who is sent back in time to the period when his parents met. After altering the events in 1955 and finding out that if they don’t marry, he will disappear, the young Marty McFly will try to reunite them again to assure his own existence. 

Every time we take a tour through the news from last year, we feel like jumping into the DeLorean, Doc’s time machine, which has the shape of a car. Thus, driving/flying at the speed of 88 miles/hour , we could time travel to warn people about all the security breaches that are about to come, the back doors that someone placed in Juniper firewalls or the discovery of a vulnerability on Instagram that was never rewarded.

On this hypothetical journey, the first stop of our trip would be Ashley Madison, a website for love cheaters. As part of our mission, we would advise its clients that it’s better to leave an unsatisfied relationship before seeking for a lover. Or that if they are looking for a lover, they shouldn’t use that online place because their personal data will be leaked.

Although the data breach happened in May 2015, in December of the same year, the victims affected by the data breach were blackmailed via US postal system. They received letters where they were asked to pay thousands of dollars for not having their secrets disclosed. A not very intelligent threat because if it’s the wife or the husband who opens the suspicious envelope, there will not be any secret anymore. Isn’t it true?

The second stop in our travel through time would be meeting the researcher who found a serious vulnerability on Instagram. We would tell him not to put too much effort on warning Facebook, the owner of this social network, because the company will not pay the reward he deserves. The reason: going “too far” to check the error and accessing a lot of confidential information. And the fact is that he had discovered the passwords to all admins’ accounts.

Third and last stop of our trip to the past 365 days ago. This time we slip into the back door of Juniper devices. A year ago, two back doors had been discovered: one that allowed the VPN to be decrypted and another one that opened the SSH to the attackers. In our DeLorean, we would try to warn them before it was too late and cybercriminals appeared inside.

At the end of 'Back to the Future', Marty McFly manages to make his parents meet and fall in love. Right now we don’t have a time machine to solve all those cyber security problems that happened in the past, so will have to be aware of what happens in the future and avoid them as much as possible.


Image source: Back to the future

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