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Cybersecurity is now beyond just GCHQ alone

Cybersecurity is now beyond just GCHQ alone


It’s timely to update past MBF Blogs on the fears, dangers and spread of all manners of cybercrimes.

In an interview on internet security, Israeli programmer and entrepreneur Gil Shwed spoke with Nick Glass and Tim Hume on CNN International in March 2013. Having started writing software as a kid of 12, by the time he was 24 Shwed had  co-founded web security business, Check Point.

This was the company who marketed the first data packet analysing firewall using ‘stateful inspection’ and according to Glass and Hume, and since then hacking has become ‘big business’ which has grown into an operation employing 3000.

Interpol have apparently estimated it costs legitimate business and individuals $1 trillion dollars a year and rising. Check Point is already tapping at least a third of the world market with more possible.

Tools for Attack

Shwed said: ‘Twenty years ago, the typical hacker was like a student trying to show his technical skills with no bad intentions. Today it’s governments, sophisticated organisations, every business is facing hundreds, if not thousands of attacks everyday. And these attacks can go from small things that slow you down to bad things that will stop your business right away immediately’.

He explained that attacks are rarely targetted attacks but come through ‘tools that scan the Internet and find the place to break in … that motivation can be political, it can be financial — stealing data or things like that. It can be extortion.’ We’re not just talking about bots and their bot-herders but sophisticated systems that allow taken over computers to take over even more, remotely and safely for the criminals.

He cited cases where ‘somebody calls an organisation and says ‘I’m a security researcher, I’ve found that your company is being targeted. I’ll let you know how to block it if you pay me my consulting fees.’ It can start from small amounts, $5000, $15000.”

He pointed out that large companies and governments were ‘obvious and attractive’ targets, home computer users are just as much at risk as ‘general attacks were aimed at security vulnerabilities, rather than specific targets’. Tools scan the web looking for places to break in, and when they find one, in they go.

The Crowd in the Cloud to the Rescue?

Check Point have now produced ThreatCloud, the first ‘collaborative approach’ to tackling cybercrime. They realised that everybody fights crime and protects themselves individually through systems, firewalls and anything else that comes up. It’s a bit like constantly reinventing the wheel.

The ThreatCloud is a network. Whenever any member suffers an attack or sees something suspicious, it reports to the service which then analyses the problem with data from many sources. The system then automatically updates the rest of the work with the new intelligence so that the source is collectively blocked.

Of course, it’s reactive defensive, but is the only way so far that anyone can fight back. The crowd helps itself.

Safe to check out:

CNN, Nick Glass and Tim Hume, cloud threats and firewalls, 5 March 2013

Check Point Software Technologies

What If the Cloud Was a Country, How Green Would It Be?, 20 February 2013

No Green Credentials for Computer Scammers and Internet Pirates, 23 January 2013

Cyber Attack in the UK Set to Be the Biggest Growth Industry, 21 January 2013

Doomsday Battle Looms for Absolute Control of the Cloud, 9 January 2013

Even the Government Jumps on Crowd Bandwagon, 11 April 2012

Many Minds Make Light Work of Challenges, 4 October 2011

Cyber-Crime High on People’s Fear Lists, 8 September 2011

Crowd-Sourcing Is Now the Business, 11 July 2011

Image: Ministry of Defence