Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Don't be naive: computers will never be secure

Following on from the previous post about the Times investigation into how easy it is to clone ePassports, I have written a column for tomorrow's Times about how we need to change our attitude towards security and computers.
We should not only be angry with government departments or businesses that fail to protect our data from fraudsters and criminals, but also at ourselves for the blind confidence we have put in technology's ability to provide that mythical thing called “total security”. It is a cliché to say that we as a society have sleepwalked into something, but when it comes to the security of our data we have not just walked, we've rushed headlong into an online world where we instinctively trust everything.
Read the full article here.


Anonymous said...

I've got six wireless networks in my road two with WEP encryption both I cracked one in a afternoon with Google, a fair degree of boredom and some out of date networking skills just to show my neighbor it could be done.

The Hollywood myth that hackers are these boy wonders in the bedrooms with a rack of kit and a very high IQ has been been continued when you look at the case of John Reid who is portrayed as a 'hacker' in fact what he did was very simple.

If people knew how easy it was for their data to be stolen, misplaced or given away maybe they'd before much more careful?

The media pretending 'hackers' are all backroom boffins and not mostly people who find their boss' password on a post-it perpetuates the myth it's hard to do and therefore unlikely to happen.

Nice piece - do more.

John M Ward said...

I always assume that my data can be hacked; but I still go to inordinate lengths to protect everything, including in ways I have mentioned here before.

As with so much, one learns to live within the society that is, not the one that we might prefer -- but it doesn't mean we have to make it easy for 'em, or give up without a fight.

Just as Mrs Moore (Angela Price) and Ricky Smith, along with "Gemini", worked against John Lumic in the Doctor Who two-parter currently being re-shown (Rise of the Cybermen / Age of Steel), we don't give in and do what we can regardless.

Whether it be our own data security, ePassport cloning, ID cards, or whatever, we do what we have to within the environment in which we live, fully aware of its limitations. I think that is the key.