Cyberspace is no longer the sole dominion of nation states and corporations. Hacker crews have been joined by hacktivists, lone wolves and journalists in the quest for the iron throne- “omniscience.”
In a world of tablets, laptops and smart phones, the recent story regarding News International’s and their parent company’s, News Corporation, use of hacking for the purposes of journalism was not shocking. Rather it signaled the slow deterioration of civility and humanity in cyberspace.
It has long been murmured that the real weaknesses in western civilization are our sense of individualism, our lack of patience and our need to take shortcuts to achieve our aims. The use of hacking by journalists illustrates the ubiquity of hacking capabilities but also the moral morass in which the text-obsessed generation Y lingers as they spend the majority of their days traversing the cyber seas.
Information has become the currency of power. Corporations and individuals alike are adapting to the digital environs by searching for information in any way possible. No longer can we implicitly trust our computers, phones and/or peers due to the cultural need to maintain omniscience. The journalists in their zeal are not solely to blame. For too long we as a culture have assumed that our devices were inherently secure from mischief and mayhem. The consumerization of IT has ushered in an epoch wherein we cannot control the influx of technology into our physical environs and, thus, the “white walkers” can roam south of the wall unimpeded should we not pursue an active defense. In fact, malware is predicted to be present in 5% of all Android and iOS devices in 2012.
No longer is victory defined as building the perfect secure enclave but rather in confining the roaming “mobile” threat to the dungeon. Thus, in my homage to “The Game of Thrones,” I challenge all of you to begin by enacting a mobile risk management strategy one which, at a minimum, manages the functionalities of mobile devices based on their personas and location as this is the year wherein physical threats and cyber threats will manifest in your pocket. A brave new world – one wherein it is imperative that we as a culture maintain a real-time 360 degree view of the very fluid & ubiquitous Mobile device layer. The “Wall” must be manned.
Tom Kellermann is the Chief Technology Officer for AirPatrol Corporation.