The Week In Review : 24th March

The Macquarie Dictionary announced in January that its 2016 ‘Word of The Year’ was ‘fake news’.

Macquarie defined this phrase as “It captures an interesting evolution in the creation of deceptive content as a way of herding people in a specific direction”. Like all new trends, it has its spinoffs and associates and in the cyber world that would be ‘fake data’.

The concept is relatively easy to understand, where a hacker, an insider, or somebody who wishes to cause disruption decides that as opposed to a full-frontal attack they undertake something far less obvious. They would modify key pieces of data within an organisation, subtly, but enough that would cause ripples that influence those who may use this now incorrect data to make decisions.

The example given by the BBC News, where I saw this story, was that if figures for soil fertility that many arable farmers use to organise their planting schedules, was modified and remained unnoticed it could have devastating consequences because the sabotaged data would kick off actions that played out over months and years. They suggest that it could potentially lead to failed crops, food shortages and, in a worst-case scenario, famine.

Maybe the next frontier in cyber security is going to be ensuring data integrity and strong information assurance, especially for organisations who are providing data that many, many others may be pinning their livelihoods too.

Many of us, whether we like it or not, have our lives on our smartphones. Contacts, data, photos, appointments and more. I’m sure that I’ve heard the phrase ‘lose your phone and you lose your life’ on more than one occasion. Well imagine the panic that would unfold if a hacker had the power to remotely wipe millions of phones at the push of a button.

That’s the claim of a mischievous group of hackers who identified themselves as ‘Turkish Crime Family,’ and who are threatening Apple to remotely wipe the data of over 300 million iCloud and iPhone users.

The website ‘The Hacker News’ posted this story after the hacker claiming to represent the alleged hacking group shared screenshots of alleged emails between the group and Apple’s security team with several publications and on its Twitter account. They have demanded from Apple $75,000 in crypto-currency or $100,000 worth of iTunes gift cards and given them until April 7th to pay.

Although there had been no official response from Apple to this claim, many third-party Apple experts are advising iCloud users to change their iCloud passwords immediately and enable two-step authentication to add an extra layer of security.

The implementation of GDPR legislation, that will significantly strengthen data protection laws across Europe, is just over the horizon. Meaning that many businesses are commencing their planning and necessary implementation to ensure that come May 2018 they are not going to fall foul of potentially eye watering fines.

Like all new changes in business legislation it can be reassuring to see how others are tackling the process to help with your own planning, so it was refreshing to see how the UK broadcaster Channel 4 was preparing its 15 million registered viewers for this change.

The story on DigiDay explained that for the last six to eight months, Channel 4 has had a GDPR team in place, preparing for how it will communicate with viewers about how it needs to regain their consent to use their data. The team has been assembled from people across the organisation with a mix of skills: It comprises a data protection officer, product representation specialists, and staff from ad ops, ad sales, tech architecture and consumer insights.

This example helps us all to understand that GDPR effects everybody within an organisation including customers. For the next 12 months, at least, we are all going to be hearing a lot more about GDPR. Who knows, maybe GDPR will become ‘Word of The Year’ for 2017!


For links to all these stories and more, or to contribute with some comments join us by searching for the National Cyber Skills Centre on our social channels of FaceBook, LinkedIn and Twitter, or just click the relevant links from our website.

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