And freedom, oh freedom
Well that’s just some people talking
The Eagles – Desperado
I’m taking this headline from a presentation by Jamie Bartlett at Infosec 2019. The changes in society that are occurring at breakneck speed was the subject of his thought-provoking keynote. This comes as we transition to a networked, always-connected world where privacy, rather than freedom ‘is just some people talking’.
In today’s digital world, freedom is exchangeable for privacy
Ironically, we are, in many ways, swapping privacy for freedom, and, perhaps, security.
Freedom is a two-edged sword, and it’s never what you anticipate. After all, even the bad guys are free to rob you.
As Bartlett explains, the so-called Dark Net, facilitated through the TOR network protocol, facilitates the emergence of a frictionless marketplace for drugs, weapons, malware authoring kits, and stolen credentials.
But at the same time it also – ironically – offers a safe way for whistleblowers, activists, and others to communicate with the press.
Early incarnations of such marketplaces like the infamous Silk Road were relatively easy for law enforcement agencies to infiltrate and shut down. Their successors may not be so easy to suppress.
An initiative, known as OpenBazaar, seeks to build a decentralized, blockchain-based infrastructure that accepts payments in cryptocurrencies and where sellers and buyers rate each other to establish mutual trust
Crucially – no centralized authority exists – no Amazon or eBay to exert control.
The law of unintended consequences.
Inventions often come with unintended consequences. Author Isaac Asimov once wrote a story about a fictional science known as ‘neutrinics‘ that was rigorously controlled and suppressed by the authorities. Using neutrinics, you could view events in the past; a history professor, frustrated at the tightly-controlled access to government-run facilities, finds the blueprints and shares the knowledge with the world. Too late! He’s aware that time begins, not in the last millennium, but just a microsecond ago. You could, effectively, go back just a tiny amount in time and view events anywhere, thus totally destroying privacy. Alas! Too late; the genie is well and truly out of the bottle now!
In many ways, the internet is an embodiment of Asimov’s fictional science.
Like a time machine, you can go back and view just about anything, anywhere. Everything is connected all the time. But sadly, that also means that privacy and security are compromised.
Is the outcome as hopeless as all that, though?. Well, there’s no doubt that with both legitimate and criminal commerce both converging on common solutions, we’re in for a pretty rough ride. Even the bad guys have HR departments, these days. They even have ‘anti-fraud’ algorithms – in their mirror-world, these are used to identify government agents trying to pose as buyers. Both sides want our data, arguably with the primary purpose of relieving of us of our money, and it’s becoming increasingly difficult at times to tell them apart.
And with the ‘analog rules’ of democracy increasing unsuited to today’s digital world – Bartlett cites the Cambridge Analytica affair as an example – it’s easy to envisage a growing backlash against technology, just as we see corrosion of faith in the established democratic systems of government.
What does this mean for me, today?
Where does this leave you, right now? Perhaps you are responsible for corporate security. Or maybe you’re just trying to keep on top of an explosion of off-prem cloud-based infrastructure that’s grown organically and without overarching corporate supervision and control. After all, it’s just too easy to use a corporate credit card to set up an Amazon or Salesforce account. Those monthly fees are fairly modest and can easily fall under the corporate radar.
And you’re also trying to defend against a barrage of increasingly sophisticated ‘phishing’ and ‘spear-phishing’ attacks, driven – inexorably – by that very same erosion of privacy that makes it so easy for a total stranger to harvesting intimate details about targets in order to irresistibly bait their hooks.
Use 1E’s platform tools to build digital rules for a digital world
Your best defense, as always, is an offense. By using modern, flexible systems management platforms like 1E’s Tachyon, you can easily keep track of installed software, certificates, endpoint network activity, software patches and devices in real time, without the extended latency associated with legacy platforms. And you can immediately reach out and take action if you see something awry.
Tachyon’s Guaranteed State feature gives you ‘digital rules for a digital world’. You can define a set of check and fix rules which ensure your endpoints don’t violate compliance rules intended to keep users and corporate assets safe and secure.
Like Asimov’s time machine, Tachyon also has the ability to travel back in time.
Should you see an anomaly, Tachyon lets you gather forensic evidence that’ll track down the perpetrators. Shut the door before you’re compromised. That’s how we do things at 1E.
So – as Bartlett explains – technology is agnostic. It is neither a force for good nor a force for evil. It is just a neutral “enabler”. We use our extensive experience and deep knowledge of systems management technologies to defend and manage your environment. We do so with world-class platforms and tools. Talk to us today to find out more.