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

Posted by Mark Hillary in Internet, IT Services.
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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?

Wikileaks – the legality of a website for leaks August 11, 2010

Posted by Mark Hillary in Government.
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The Wikileaks website is back in the news again, this time because it is alleged that a US serviceman has leaked thousands of confidential diplomatic messages to the services. The US military is angry, claiming that troop lives can be endangered by leaks of this nature. Many in the media argue that the freedom to criticize government should be a right for all citizens to enjoy.

Wikileaks describes itself as “WikiLeaks is a multi-jurisdictional public service designed to protect whistleblowers, journalists and activists who have sensitive materials to communicate to the public.” The site distributes data across several servers located in several countries, therefore not subjecting itself to any one jurisdiction. There are also hundreds of web addresses that will take a reader to the Wikileaks site too, just in case your current jurisdiction bans it.

But consider for a moment how free comment could be abused using such a system.

If it is possible to make any comment about anyone or any organisation using a service such as this then the national protection of libel surely no longer exists?

Wikileaks is proving to be a vital tool in giving whistleblowers a safe mechanism for reporting corporate or government fraud and wrongdoing, but once a reporting mechanism answers to nobody, how can the claims be verified and reputations protected?