jump to navigation

Cyber-crime doesn’t (always) pay July 29, 2011

Posted by Mark Hillary in Internet, IT Services.
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
add a comment

If you have read the book ‘A few kind words and a loaded gun’ by former bank robber Noel ‘Razor’ Smith, you will understand how far the world has come from the days of blaggers charging into a bank branch with a shotgun and making off with a stack of cash.

Smith laments the amount of security measures attached to the movement of cash that now makes simple bank robberies almost impossible, and he notes that anyone carrying out such a crime today would be a fool. Cyber-crime offers the chance for greater riches without ever going near a gun.

All you need is a computer and some nous and you can commit various types of crime without ever leaving home. Fraud, organised crime, electronic espionage, IP theft, terrorism, activism, and even warfare can call fall under the wider label of cyber-crime and all can be perpetrated without much risk if you know how to cover your online tracks.

This all means that is it harder than ever to protect your company from criminals because there are now so many ways in which an attack can take place. Publishers may lose content to online thieves. Activists or terrorists may target your brand for attack with such tools as the dreaded denial of service attacks. Insiders can raid your company funds and misappropriate assets. The list goes on.

But the real point is that crime has now become virtual and hidden in the shadows. Mastering the technical skills of computer networks and the smooth-talking social engineering required to get passwords from the unwary now gives any unscrupulous hacker the keys to the vault.

Are we really prepared for this new era of crime?

Ada Lovelace Day 2010: Dame Wendy Hall March 24, 2010

Posted by Mark Hillary in Uncategorized.
Tags: , , , , , , , ,
2 comments

Ada Lovelace Day is an international day of blogging to celebrate the achievements of women in technology and science. The first Ada Lovelace Day was held on 24th March 2009 and was a huge success. It attracted nearly 2000 signatories to the pledge and 2000 more people who signed up on Facebook. In case you are not aware of who Ada Lovelace was, in short she is regarded as the world’s first ever computer programmer.

And what are the pledges for? It’s a pledge to write on your blog about an admirable woman in technology or science and to then submit the blog to the Finding Ada website, so there is a large collection of stories about women in technology.

I’d like to name Dame Wendy Hall as one of my female technology heroes. Wendy was working at the University of Southampton on hypermedia and multimedia in the mid-1980s – long before the World Wide Web came along. She became the first ever professor of engineering at Southampton in 1994, and went on to head the computer science department from 2002 to 2007. Until July 2008, she was Senior Vice President of the Royal Academy of Engineering, is currently a member of the UK Prime Minister’s Council for Science and Technology, and is a founder member of the Scientific Council of the European Research Council.  She was President of the British Computer Society (2003-4) and an EPSRC Senior Research Fellow from 1996 to 2002.

Since 2008 she has been president of the Association for Computing Machinery. But this would read more like a CV if I just listed Wendy’s achievements and posts held. The really admirable thing about Wendy is that she is a true technology visionary. She was using a version of what we know as the web, about 15 years before the rest of us caught up, and now she is leading international research efforts into the semantic web, the next generation Internet.

So, invoking the spirit of the first ever computer programmer, Ada Lovelace, Dame Wendy Hall please take your place in the Finding Ada roll call!