Skip to main content
Dare Not Look into the Abyss

I’m worried. That’s not unusual but on this occasion, the success of Operation Ore is raising all manner of unpleasant implications, which stretch beyond its natural constituency of ageing judges, politicians and rock stars.

Without a doubt, Operation Ore has been a big success for the Police in the continuing fight against paedophile crime and in some respects, with over seven thousand names to investigate, it’s almost too successful, pulling away already stretched resources from an increasingly organised wave of Internet-related crime, which rushed-in to fill the vacuum left by the collapse of the Dot Com bubble.

Ore is however just the tip of an iceberg of incalculable size, a successful sting on one website among countless thousands, of explicit sites, which can be found within seconds of loading any one of the dedicated search engines. As a consequence, the true figure for people in the UK involved in the downloading and distribution of paedophile content alone might be nearer 70,000 then 7,000 and perhaps even higher still.

What worries me from a business perspective is that all kinds of illegal and explicit sites increasingly thrive on Broadband – The Korean experience - and with Broadband still in the minority among domestic users, this suggests that a hidden quantity of potentially illegal traffic, paedophile or otherwise, is passing through company networks. It’s a theory, of course rather like the assumption that our universe is full of invisible, ‘Dark Matter’ but with so many organisations having very little in the way of a content filtering policy, it’s difficult to argue otherwise.

My own guess is that the public sector is more likely to face compromise than the private sector, which, in my experience is a little more diligent as regards what goes in and out of the corporate network. Most organisation are more concerned about managing their email than monitoring their content but even then, too many organisations have little or no sensible policy in place.

Last year, in a piece of research, I found that scanning electronic mail for malicious attachments is a near universal procedure among administrators (93%) but that only 42% were then tackling the growing problem of spamming with 43% monitoring communication for signs of obscene or inappropriate content. Just before Xmas KVS revealed in a survey that Forty-one percent Of Public Sector IT Managers don’t have an email management policy in place or haven’t reviewed email back up policies at all, in advance of meeting compliance with the UK Government’s 2004 legislation.

The good news then, if there is any, is that the country is facing a sixty-forty split, between those organisations that have ‘a handle’ on their network traffic and their email management and those who don’t. Naturally, there are serious implications for those who don’t, if in the light of Operation Ore, my own pet theory on the hidden presence of the Internet’s own ‘Dark Matter’ is even partially close to the truth.


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…

Civilisational Data Mining

It’s a new expression I haven’t heard before. ‘Civilisational data mining.’

Let me start by putting it in some context. Every character, you or I have typed into the Google search engine or Facebook over the last decade, means something, to someone or perhaps ‘something,’ if it’s an algorithm.

In May 2014, journalists revealed that the United States National Security Agency, the NSA, was recording and archiving every single cell-phone conversation that took place in the Bahamas. In the process they managed to transform a significant proportion of a society’s day to day interactions into unstructured data; valuable information which can of course be analysed, correlated and transformed for whatever purpose the intelligence agency deems fit.

And today, I read that a GOP-hired data company in the United States has ‘leaked’ personal information, preferences and voting intentions on… wait for it… 198 million US citizens.

Within another decade or so, the cost of sequencing the human genome …

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…