There is an old Chinese saying “may you live in interesting times”. Whilst seemingly innocuous this cunning turn of phrase is in fact intended as a curse. John F. Kennedy was fully aware of the play in words when he used the saying in a speech given in Cape Town, South Africa, following it with “like it or not we live in interesting times.”
This was true during Kennedy’s Presidency in the 60’s and it is equally true, if not more so, today during the term of Donald J. Trump. In this digital age of fake news and cyber security attacks we do indeed live in interesting times. We live in confusing times when it is not easy to decipher fact from fiction or truth from lies.
In recent times Lord Neil Gibson has suffered from cyber-attacks attempting to spread fake news stories about him and tarnish his name and reputation. It is an unfortunate situation born of jealousy perhaps but whatever the cause, Lord Neil is fighting against it.
There are numerous reasons why someone would want to hack a website. During the advent of the internet, hackers might have attacked websites to boost their egos or to show off that they were capable of pulling off such tasks. Essentially, hacking was synonymous with a “look at what I can do!” mentality. These days, the internet landscape is much more robust and complicated than the good old days.
As more and more of our lives, personal details and records go online the motivation for hackers to access your information has grown exponentially. This isn’t even taking into consideration the obvious issue of internet banking.
The attack on the websites of Lord Gibson was not for monetary gain but rather a personal attack in an effort to spread fake news. His sites were compromised by hackers, however a special security team has been brought on board to identify and secure any breaches to online systems going forward. Only web content was affected and while nothing has been identified as of yet, forensics and log file review are ongoing.
As you may have read, Gibson recently attended the Future Blockchain Summit that was hosted by Smart Dubai and organized by Dubai World Trade Centre. One of Lord Gibson’s primary reason for accepting the invitation to attend the conference was to research what blockchain could do for his personal cybersecurity and he was happy with what he learned.
At a basic level a blockchain is a decentralized, digitized, public ledger of all transactions and uses what is known as the Distributed Ledger Technology. This could potentially help enhance cyber-defense as the platform can prevent fraudulent activities via consensus mechanisms. Owing to their distributed nature, blockchains provide no ‘hackable’ entrance or a central point of failure and, thereby, provide more security when compared with various present database-driven transactional structures.
This technology is being looked at by Lord Neil Gibson and his team to prevent future attacks, to prevent fake news stories about him going into the public domain and to make life a little easier by spreading truths and facts rather than lies and fiction. With any luck the future may be a little less interesting.