There is no doubt about the accuracy of the recommendation written on behalf of David Perry:
“David was born at the foot of the tree of knowledge, and he’s in the front-seat of the technology truck.” Someone knows Dave all too well.
Our interview, or should I say a couple of good old boys talking amongst themselves in the CyberHood, provided a boatload of practical information. Considering information as part of the new currency in the Digital Age, our visitors and listeners just hit payday.
“The Internet is not computers, it’s people”, said David Perry. What an interesting perspective when many of us think hardware and technology as the primary components making up the Internet. That makes me think of a previous guest comment, Winn Schwartau, who also diverted from technology to have us focus more on people and behaviors.
When I asked David to make the connection between the human perspective and the profile of what a malware writer might look like today. Suddenly, the profile of people/Internet scenario vanished and the playing field dramatically changed. “Malware writers are companies with thousands of employees in India and China”, said David with a chuckle.
If you come home and find everything rummaged through and thrown about, it is probably safe to assume you have been burglarized. Most consumers expect the same with malware. They expect to see cross-bones, computer crashing, or something to indicate they have been hacked. However, today’s intruder operates in stealth mode not to destroy but to plant malware to capture your system (PC) without your knowledge so that they can resell it to other criminals for nefarious purposes.
The one that captures your system is the “Bot Herder” who then sells to the criminal. Do you remember the “conficker”, which planted a “Bot” of twenty-million people? The conficker did exactly what it was designed to do; it gave that bot herder all those computers to sell off.
There is no programming or writing software for the bot herder, he actually buys the bot software and tool kits online, and unbelievably it comes with upgrade contracts and tech support. Talk about your ready homemade business.
If that isn’t bad enough after finally getting across the idea with the public that malware protection is important, along comes a pop-up claiming your computer has been infected and it is imperative you act now and buy the advertised anti-virus protection. That happened in December of 2009 to the tune of One-Hundred Million Dollars ($100,000,000.00) in one month.
That makes me want to rant and rave when you consider there are free programs available that offer decent protection against malware…Go figure! I am still having trouble getting by the $100,000,000.00 in one month. Somewhere in there has to be a marketing lesson that can be used for good.
David brought up an interesting point that I wish we had spent a little more time talking about. David asked, “Why is Visa Corporation and Master Card, processing card charges for these people? We knew they were criminals for a couple of years.” In light of PCI, Red Flags Rule, and other compliancy issues mandating others to adhere to best practices that seems to be a fair question.
The Internet and the Digital Age operates on a global scale and all of us need to be mindful of that concept. Good or bad, our world is changing with or without our input. Be assured organized crime either on a corrupt government level or corporate level will continue relentlessly towards whatever unethical goals they seek.
Fortunately, David has a larger vision of the Digital World and understands there is hope, which rests on four legs.
1. The systems we are using: referring to operating systems, hardware, applications, and the actual computing systems we use on a day-to-day basis. The Internet and the systems have to be more secure by design.
2. The security software we use needs to be better.
3. User education…The CyberHood Watch radio show interviewing David is an example. David does not believe people understand that information is property and that the computer is not a box, it is a window to your personal information.
4. Rule of law – We are making headway to pursue jurisdictional law. For example: there is a brand new law in Norway that states that cell phone data can be kept for a longer period of time and sequestered as evidence.
Commerce has become the world of exchanging information, and money is no longer, what we baby boomers would envision as the five – ten – and twenty-dollar bill. Today’s money is just numbers on the computer and all stored on those computers. Makes sense that computers become the target and even more sense to attack the end user who is less likely to have an IT department fending-off cyber attacks.
Education, education, and more education of end-users…According to David there is a big private partnership coming down the road with government, which will be announced in a press release in two weeks. It includes the Department of Homeland Security, The White House, all of the security industry players, EBay, Amazon, Sears, Visa, Master Card all coming together to launch a huge add campaign to educate the consumer to stay safe online. “You cannot take a computer out of the box and run it and expect it to be safe at the end of the day. You have to know what is going on”, said David. There is a lot of resistance to that but, how do think the cybercriminals made a hundred million dollars in one month? “Complacency” is the term The CyberHood Watch partners, Dave & Bill have used to describe the problem in the past.
David gave a little more insight what the big public message campaign to educate the consumer would contain, “that you need to pay attention and that you need to learn more on a regular basis, and that you should do everything you can to protect yourself.”
Here is an interesting thought David made regarding Facebook or any social network for that matter, and that is to ask yourself, “Who is the customer”? Once you understand who the customer is – then think about what the customer wants in return for their investment. Are you beginning to see how your personal information is the new currency or a sought after valued commodity of the Digital Age?
If cybercriminals can socially engineer individuals to spend $100,000,000.00 million dollars in one month, how much do you think advertisers can socially engineer you to spend, after data mining enough personal information about you, knowing your personal likes and dislikes, and keeping a step ahead of your buying habits?
I have only covered a little more than thirty minutes of David Perry’s interview with The CyberHood Watch. You can fast forward to the time stamp of thirty-five (35:00) minutes and hear David talking about how he believes in the next couple of decades there will be a digital crisis that individuals will demand a reset of the Internet. David went on to talk about the importance of your credit rating and how that will become the measure of your worth for financially functioning in society.
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david c ballard