#Cybertrek || The Ghost Within
Like everything in our life what we can’t see , touch, hear or smell our senses seem to simply ignore it. As human beings we only respond to sensory stimulus and the rest we seem to just ignore. Such have been the story of 'Cyber'. We read these news articles or news of a hacking done here and there and then move on, this does not register as a concern and often does not seem to impact us. Just give yourself a minute, before you read further , like the yoga app these days which asks you to sit quiet for a minute and breathe deeply, look around yourself, open your eyes wide - How digitally connected is your world, imagine multiple Wi-Fi signals in the air clubbed with mobile signals, every person you know will be using a tool to interface directly the internet or cyber. People emailing, chatting, sending photos, on call, playing games, all of this is in cyber.
Here is some news for you, by design when we built the Internet and as the systems left the realms of Universities (ARPANET) to be used in every home, we forgot to consider security. Nobody’s is to blame. The idea at that juncture was to share, share information across different worlds, spread knowledge and become a better society. So internet spread fast and furious supported by the boom in personal computing. From the long multiple beep of the modem to the silent smooth connection of today , access to Internet has become easier and easier. In the same breath Cyber Hacking has evolved from proving skills and. making a name ( being noticed) to ‘Ransomware’, outright ‘Data Theft’, ‘Political Movements’ and just stealing money. Its evolved to point that the word ‘Cyber Spy’ is a new reality, James Bond has gone digital.
This is the first in a series of twenty ( 20 )articles to make you understand the challenges of Cyber, what can you do to protect yourself and your organization.
The Ghost Within, when we started building software systems and as they became more complex the reality of weaknesses in our software systems became real. Experts believe that a mistake / error / weakness appears in code every 25000 lines. This is not just true for application software but all software development, be it Operating System or Firmware. This is what I call the Ghost, technically we call it ‘Vulnerabilities’. Now imagine millions of lines of code in an Operating System or any other software, by default it will have many ghosts. Cyber hackers exploit these ghost’s use them and gain access to your resources. Today, every aspect of our life is controlled by software code, it has become the center piece of the modern society. This exposes us to these ghosts and challenges the world of ‘Privacy’ and ‘Security’ both personally and professionally. With the advent of Smart Cities, Internet of Things, Interconnected Devices our security risks have grown exponentially. As I said, at the start of this article, we can’t see these ghosts and hence often we tend not to address the problem. If you go through the CVE website ( www.cve.mtre.org) you will see that almost all the software out there have vulnerabilities which a hacker can exploit.
The ghost is real, as established our software systems have vulnerabilities which hackers exploit to gain control of your system/website or servers. The presence of vulnerabilities ( = ghosts) gave rise to a new industry making ‘Exploit Kits’. These kits are programs which are made specifically to exploit a certain ghost. These kits are now available of the shelf and are easy to use.