No computer has been created that could not be hacked…
NATIONAL security may be defined as the concept that a state and its society are protected from various domestic and foreign threats arising from politics, sociology, economics, energy, military, environment and natural resources. Simply put, national security is all-embracing, affecting every man, woman and child from all walks of life.
Klaus Schwab of the World Economic Forum (WEF) explained this particularly true in the realm of regulation. Current systems of public policy and decision-making evolved alongside the Second Industrial Revolution, when decision-makers had time to study a specific issue and develop the necessary response or appropriate regulatory framework. The whole process was designed to be linear and mechanistic, following a strict “top down” approach.
The big question Schwab asked is, how can legislators and regulators preserve the interest of the consumers and the public at large, while continuing to support innovation and technological development?
The WEF leader said agile governance is the key, like those in the private sector who easily adopted quick-witted responses to software development and business operations more generally.
“This means legislators and regulators must continuously adapt to a new, fast-changing environment, reinventing themselves so they can truly understand what it is they are regulating. To do so, governments and regulatory agencies will need to collaborate closely with business and civil society,” Schwab said.
Many of the issues, such as the inability to cope with the fast-changing world, have far-reaching implications to national security, which has a correlation to the life of a nation and its inhabitants.
Schwab said the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) has a profound impact on national and international security, affecting both the probability and the nature of conflict.
“The history of warfare and international security is the history of technological innovation, and today is no exception. Modern conflicts involving states are increasingly ‘hybrid’ in nature, combining traditional battlefield techniques with elements previously associated with nonstate actors. The distinction between war and peace, combatant and noncombatant, and even violence and nonviolence [think cyber warfare] is becoming uncomfortably blurry,” Schwab added.
We now live in an age where “wars” may be waged with the press of a few buttons. In fact, people eat, sleep, work and live their lives without knowing that they’ve already been victimized by this war. Wars and crimes have essentially become borderless, thanks to the conveniences accorded by technological developments over the past few years and the role of technology has been taken to new heights.
One would think that something as seemingly mundane as the recently exposed credit-card skimming syndicates (skimmers) end up only using your financial information to make purchases for themselves. But these skimmers are part of cyber gangs who sell “stolen” credit- card information to larger syndicates or, worse, terrorists.
Example, cyber gang FIN6 that attacked point-of-sale systems with malware, mostly in the hospitality and retail industry in the US, was able to acquire 20 million credit-card information from people who “simply made a purchase”.
The cyber gang then sold them for an average of $21, according to a FireEye Threat Intelligence Report in the “deep web”, an area in cyberspace beyond the reach of regular Internet users and where many cyber criminals and other unscrupulous cyber-entities thrive.
The deep web usually contains “articles” that are illegal in nature, such as dangerous drugs, child pornography, various counterfeit items or other materials enticing to terrorists, such as explosive components, dangerous chemicals and high-powered weaponry.
That means, some of the components in the explosive devices used to cause public harm may have been easily bought online and it indirectly originated from an innocent buyer’s purchase through an infected point-of-sale system.
A global security advisor and consultant of the Interpol (International Police Organization) and the Federal Bureau of Investigation with extensive knowledge and experience in next-generation security threats, such as cyber crime, cyber terrorism and information warfare perfectly put one of the downsides of the 4IR into perspective.
“To date, no computer has been created that could not be hacked—a sobering fact given mankind’s radical dependence on these machines for everything from our nation’s power grid to air-traffic control to financial services,” Marc Goodman said in his best-selling book, Future Crimes-Inside the Digital Underground and the Battle for Our Connected World, (Amazon, paperback, and Doubleday, hardbound, 2015).
“Technological advances”, the book said, “have benefited our world in
immeasurable ways, but there is an ominous flip side: our technology can be turned against us. And just over the horizon is a tidal wave of scientific progress that will leave our heads spinning—from implantable medical devices to drones and 3D printers, all of which can be hacked, with disastrous consequences.”
With his wide-ranging insights as an expert in lawenforcement, Goodman takes his readers “on a vivid journey through the darkest recesses of the Internet. He explores how bad actors are primed to hijack the technologies of tomorrow”.
In the appendix of his highly instructive and informative book, Goodman provides his readers an “Update Protocol” on the dangers of cybercrime and tells us what to do after reminding us that: “Everything’s Connected, Everyone’s Vulnerable.”
In essence, he shows us “how to take back control of our own devices and harness technology’s tremendous power for the betterment of humanity—before it’s too late”.
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