Friday, October 13, 2017

In times of crisis

Experts say that in times of crisis new opportunities arise and that not everything is dark clouds. It appears some clear if one stops for a while to think. Many of the companies we know today have been born in times of recession. Divorces go down and reconciliations grow. The repair shops are full. The birth rate rises. The sales last all year round. There is always some way to peer out some gleam of light in the dark days.

But while half the world is trying to see the positive side of a crisis, the other half tries to profit from the misery of others. In situations of chaos there is always someone who knows how to capitalize. The world of cybersecurity is not in crisis but it´s true that it receives many attacks and every day come to light new terrible news about large companies that have not been able to protect themselves enough. During this week, several have been the cases that have benefited from this time of instabilities.

If we talk about taking advantage, this week Experian, one of the major consumer credit reporting agencies, takes the cake. It´s assumed that the data of all the recent data leaks, which are not few, must be somewhere in the dark web waiting for someone to be interested in them. Yes, the dark web, that dark and hard-to-reach part of the Internet that requires special software to access it. And this week Experian launched the following service: for a set price can tell you if your data are accessible to the navigators of this "dark network." Can they delete them? No, but they assume that the user will sleep more quietly. This is to take advantage of the misery of others ...

Another thing that was clear in the middle of the week is that where there is money there are thieves and where there are criptomonedas there are cybercriminals too. It was to be hoped that the criminals would discover some way in which to extract bitcoins without having to go to the cashier. This week we knew his method: the installation of code on the webs and a subsequent attack on the computers that connect to the network allows criminals to generate cash quickly. This is not done by a single person, but rather are operations carried out by many connected computers to solve the intricate mathematical problem of generating new digital coins. A lot of time and effort dedicated to doing evil.

This is not new, every time you make a digital photo will generate a lot of data. Each photo includes an EXIF file that describes each file. But what has come to light this week is that criminals know how to take advantage of this fact. When you see a set of photos about something valuable they know how to follow the trail to get to the beginning of the matter and get a slice. In fact anyone with a little knowledge in the field is able to extract a map with your movements through your photo applications. We must be careful and watch the EXIF files we generate.

And if anyone is expert in profiting from the evil of others, it is the Trump Government that even though it tried, at the moment it has not been possible. A worldwide protest organization website against President Donald Trump was about to have to give the Feds the IP addresses of the page users. But this week, thanks to a private judge, this strategy fell on deaf ears and the courts have had to stop. Don´t play with privacy, at least for now.

There are things that are uncontrollable, like attacks on companies that have our data or the intrusion of someone outside our network. But in times of crisis being cautious is worth double and it is good strategy to take the measures that are within our hand to avoid major evils. At least until the storm escapes.


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