How safe are you from cyber pirates?
Hollywood has been obsessed with Artificial Intelligence (AI) for the past two decades. At first loyal servant of the human race, and one day our biggest enemy. Scenarios would often involve advanced forms of AI taking a mind of their own and overwhelming the feeble homo sapiens. Terminator series were two epic movies (we’re not acknowledging the third one), where machines rise against man. Matrix saw the human race enslaved by intelligent software and trapped in an alternative reality. While AI hasn't quite oppressed us yet, internet pirates do use AI for ransom. They don’t demand unmarked bills left behind the dustbins in an underground car park, but rather prefer Bitcoin cryptocurrency.
Sony bore the fruits of two major cyber-attacks, first in November 2014, when a hacker group calling themselves "Guardians of Peace" (GOP) hacked and leaked personal information of staff, and copies of then-unreleased Sony Studio films. In the same month the GOP blackmailed Sony to pull the plug on The Interview, a comedy starring Seth Rogen and the plot to assassinate North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un. The company ended up cancelling the film's premiere and released the feature film on digital platforms. One of the world’s leading internet platforms, Yahoo came clean about two major data breaches that occurred in 2013 & 2014. These saw hackers get a hold of over 1.5 billion user account details including names, email addresses, telephone numbers, encrypted security questions and answers, dates of birth, and encrypted passwords, basically all the sacred information for internet security.
Earlier this May, the world saw the WannaCry ransomware infect over 230,000 computers in over 150 countries including some of the largest public and private entities, once breached users data was locked and ransom demanded via Bitcoin cryptocurrency. The randsomewhere targeted Microsoft Windows operating system Windows 7. Microsoft reported it issued a warning two months earlier about such malware but many companies had not implemented it in time.
For many companies the notion of preparing for a cyber threat isn’t on the top of their to do list, neither is it something they fully understand. The reality is, if giants such as Sony and Yahoo can get affected anyone can. In order to defend the cyber world – free form pirates and racketeers, companies such as the Anquan Group, create a kind of war game, a full-blown cyber attack before it happens for real.
Referred to as Gamification, it’s basically a cyber take on wargames. C-suite level teams find themselves in realistic scenarios that inject news reports, twitter feeds, press coverage and other tools to create an immersive backdrop for the exercise, effectively mirroring the real time cyber attack. Anquan uses specialist techniques and apply these to the cyber world, in their own words ‘taking the generals of the boardroom into battle in the information warfare and cyber space of the 21st century’.