July 20, 2017 —
I have heard many different angles about the latest round of ransomware as well as the significant effect it has had globally. Petya is just the latest in a round of devastating cyber-attacks that have hit the worlds’ networks. One interesting note came as I was listening to a report on PBS about these attacks that hit the nail right on the head.
In addition to the usual diatribe about upping the security wheelhouse, there was an interview with a hacker. Not a malfeasant hacker, although the skill set is the same, but one of those individuals that companies hire to hack their systems to find vulnerabilities.
An interesting angle from this individual was that he said that the word “hacker” has a bad rap – and I think he is right. Hacking has long been used to discover flaws in the programming. Back in the day we used to call them analysts. These individuals would make it their life’s work to bang away at programs to find flaws. Not just vulnerabilities, but programming error as well. It just didn’t get visibility until it went to the dark side, around 1990.
Whether the attack surface is sophisticated, such as wireless networks, the Internet, the cloud, the edge, server farms, the enterprise, etc., or simple home networks, the outcome is the same. And until the industry figures out that hackers are just as much good witches as bad witches, we will never get ahead of the malfeasance side.
The time has come to put the hacker to work for the good of the industry. And remove the stigma that it has garnered. Then we will begin to do battle on even footing.