Skip to main content
End of Days

Everyone can sleep safe this Xmas. I’ve been made an honorary Special Agent of the Office of Special (Computer) Investigations & Operations and have an authentic piece of brass to prove it.

You may have noticed, that there’s no such thing as an ‘ordinary’ agent; the runaway success of the X-files made all of us agents equally special and with my black Armani suit and my dark glasses, I’m looking forward to taking up the open invitation to Washington for a guided tour of the top secret facility which collects all Santa’s email.

This week, of course, I’m looking forward to 2003 and I’m going to ‘buck’ the doomsday trend, which had my wife asking whether wrapping the Terrier in cling-film might be protection against a possible VX Gas attack on Wimbledon Common.

IDC and other ostensibly responsible and informed sources, are predicting, that galvanised by a war against Iraq, a “A major cyber terrorism event will occur that “will disrupt the economy and bring the Internet to its knees for at least a day or two”.

You’ll note that this isn’t a possible war, one with the full support of the United Nations but rather, “the war”, a match fixture on a date to be arranged, which as a one time Royal Marine, fails to stir my enthusiasm.

Although there’s plenty of evidence that diverse political interests, Hamas, the Iron Guards and others, are increasingly leveraging the Internet as a potential target of opportunity, personally, I don’t subscribe to the ‘catastrophic’ school of thought for 2003. I could of course be terribly wrong but activity of the kind to date has involved relatively low intensity denial of service and business interruption, annoying, expensive but not sophisticated or organised enough to bring the West to its knees quite yet.

Terrorism, I argued at the High-tech Crime Conference has a perverse entertainment value and while the information infrastructure represents the soft-belly of the developed world, large explosions and other acts of terror have far more visual and emotional impact on CNN.

In my opinion, while 2003 will be a year of increasing business disruption as corporate weakness is increasingly probed from outside the firewall, it won’t be they year that sees all the power stations on the US North-east coast switched off in the depths of Winter by a determined hacker – one of the scenarios that was considered - .

Given the sorry state of information security on a global basis, built on a “bed of Swiss cheese” as I’ve described it, there’s an inevitability surrounding some kind of high-profile ‘Take-down’ of a large institution for either criminal or political motivation. My advice to all our readers is that your first New Year’s resolution should involve a reassessment of your information security policy, be prepared, remember the lessons of Y2K and don’t be encouraged into a sense of paranoia by the prophets of digital disaster.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Mainframe to Mobile

Not one of us has a clue what the world will look like in five years’ time, yet we are all preparing for that future – As  computing power has become embedded in everything from our cars and our telephones to our financial markets, technological complexity has eclipsed our ability to comprehend it’s bigger picture impact on the shape of tomorrow.

Our intuition has been formed by a set of experiences and ideas about how things worked during a time when changes were incremental and somewhat predictable. In March 1953. there were only 53 kilobytes of high-speed RAM on the entire planet.

Today, more than 80 per cent of the value of FTSE 500* firms is ‘now dark matter’: the intangible secret recipe of success; the physical stuff companies own and their wages bill accounts for less than 20 per cent: a reversal of the pattern that once prevailed in the 1970s. Very soon, Everything at scale in this world will be managed by algorithms and data and there’s a need for effective platforms for ma…

The Big Steal

I’m not here to predict the future;” quipped the novelist, Ray Bradbury. “I’m here to prevent it.” And the future looks much like one where giant corporations who hold the most data, the fastest servers, and the greatest processing power will drive all economic growth into the second half of the century.

We live in an unprecedented time. This in the sense that nobody knows what the world will look like in twenty years; one where making confident forecasts in the face of new technologies becomes a real challenge. Before this decade is over, business leaders will face regular and complex decisions about protecting their critical information and systems as more of the existing solutions they have relied upon are exposed as inadequate.

The few real certainties we have available surround the uninterrupted march of Moore’s Law - the notion that the number of transistors in the top-of-the-line processors doubles approximately every two years - and the unpredictability of human nature. Exper…

An Ockham of Gatwick

The 13th century theologian and philosopher, William of Ockham, who once lived in his small Surrey village, not so very far from what is today, the wide concrete expanse of Gatwick airport is a frequently referenced source of intellectual reason. His contribution to modern culture was Ockham’s Razor, which cautions us when problem solving, that “The explanation requiring the fewest assumptions is most likely to be correct;” sound advice which constantly proves to be true.

A week further-on since Britain’s second busiest airport was bought to a complete standstill by two or perhaps two hundred different drone sightings, it is perhaps time to revisit William of Ockham’s maxim, rather than be led astray by an increasingly bizarre narrative, one which has led Surrey police up several blind alleys with little or nothing in the way of measurable results.

 Exploring the possibilities with a little help in reasoning from our medieval friar, we appear to have a choice of two different account…