Monday, July 17, 2017

Obstacle Race

A year ago, today ...

The obstacle race is one of the athletic competitions that more concentration of the athlete needs. You don't only need to run to the maximum to reach your goals, you also have to get around fences and jump over them. About a metre (0.971m) for men and a bit less (0,762 m) for women. To be able to get it you have to measure well the time of jump, the stride and the distance, since a mistake can be fatal and you can hit your bones on the ground. Not to mention that you probably end up wet and last when crossing the finish line.

In the world of cybersecurity, we find ourselves in an endless obstacles race. Sometimes we are the ones who make the way tricky to cyber criminals, but other times they are the ones who are in charge of preventing us from accessing our data... Today in our throwback to the past we will see who throw a spanner to the other team.

A year ago, Turkey was recovering from the attempted coup when Wikileaks suddenly leaked 300,000 emails that put the Erdogan administration in a compromised situation. What the government did in this situation? The most natural thing across the world, Block the web of Assange, as well as other portals like Youtube, Facebook and Twitter. However, this obstacle was not very effective since the population managed to jump it and communicate with the outside world through VPN.

The problem is when the obstacles are hidden and when you do not see them you bump into it. Cybercriminals are specialists in setting up traps where we least expect it and a year ago they found the perfect place. Where? In Ammyy Admin, an app to obtain remote access to the computer so that you could work without having physical access to it. The malware was hidden to be executed in the file that installed the tool. And suddenly, in a wink, we are infected.

Others who has put obstacles to avoid impersonation were Twitter. The social network opened its privacy policy for the verification of accounts in order that everyone can request the blue check tick. How to get it? Well ... overcoming that obstacle is another matter, but it's worth it in the pursuit of cybersecurity.

The one who is an expert in putting obstacles to cyber criminals is José Luis Gilpérez, Director of Defense, Security and BigData at Telefónica. Since 2002 he has been involved in cyber security work. A year ago we were lucky to interview this professional and we talked about critical infrastructures, cryptography, the cloud and many other topics of popular interest.

However, a study by the organizers of the BlackHat conference revealed that many José Luis Gilpérez are needed in Spain, as almost three-quarters of the cybersecurity experts believe that they lack qualified stuff, a lack of management awareness and a greater Integration into security solutions. If those specialized in the matter think that and are those who are at the bottom of the line in the battle, they must be right...

Obstacle races test all of the athlete's abilities. Speed, responsiveness, environmental assessment... Cybersecurity experts looks like these elite athletes as they always have to the 5 senses alert in searching of danger. The difference is that when the athlete reaches the goal, they forget the rest of the race but where is the goal for us?


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