Saturday, July 11, 2015

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We used to feel safe with a lock on our door. Now being safe is complicated. So much of our lives are now disclosed on computers somewhere that we are not even sure what doors to our lives are even being left open or broken into. Thank God we still have people that care including our President Obama and ordinary cyber geniuses. It appears that White House e-mails are the latest material to be hacked. They are hackers said to be linked to the Russian government. They weren’t able to get to classified information but they were able to get to President Obama’s e mails.
In Huntsville, Alabama they are training the next generation of cyber warriors. These very intelligent kids are proud to be called Nerds and to be invited into this very important and very secret world on computers.  They like that most nerds also happen to have jobs at any age. Nerds are in demand now. The jobs these kids have is not at flipping burgers some of them have after school jobs at local engineering firms where they are developing an experimental type of mall-ware programs. Sometimes the engineers forget that the kids are still enrolled in high school and will try to call them during the day. The kids have to remind them that they are still in 5th period.

Cyber ware-fare is attractive to other countries. Because it is affordable and it allows them to strike at other countries for whatever political issue they don’t like with relatively low chance of impunity and a low damage cost of having it being traced back to them. They can attack,   but it is very difficult to defend America needs more nerds. Hacker attacks are no longer just occasional headlines anymore. They have been happening more and more often even routine. We has the Secret Service investigating one of the largest thefts of debit card information ever with the Target scandal. With ANTHEM, INC. up to 80 million current and former members records were at risk. If you picked 100 American companies at random hackers could probably get into nearly all of them now.

Leviathan is a security company trying to battle these problems. He employs hackers and make sure they are our good guys on our side. Companies hire them to help them secure their computer networks. A while ago they hacked into a huge oil company not to do harm but to show that it could be done. They started with a Google search where they found  press release from one of the companies sub- contractors. They issued a press release because they were proud to supply all this excellent equipment to this very large project for this truly amazing big company.  The sub-contractor sold networking gear to the company. The hackers found the user guide manual for the equipment and in the manual  they found the factory setting for its owner name and password. You are supposed to change it once you buy the stuff. The company didn’t and so the hackers gained access to everything with the very common factory password.

With access like that,, hackers could have easily taken control over data and phone systems. The Hack of Sony Pictures was particularly embarrassing.  The hackers successfully shut the computer system down, they leaked 47,000 Social Security numbers of celebrity data.  It revealed that Ben Aflec did not want it revealed that his ancestors were slave owners on the PBS series called Finding Your Roots. Back in January President Obama said that no foreign nation should be able to hack into our data and steal our information and invade the privacy of American families.  Recently he signed a new executive order. It allows the Treasury Secretary to freeze the assets of hackers outside the United States who disrupt networks or steal trade secrets.

To better coordinate our response to these attacks he is creating a new office in the White House. The Cyb er Intelligence Integration Center. It will be one place to focus on these problems. Thank You President.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                

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