We live in a very different world today than we did 10-20 years ago. We’ve never been more connected. So, it’s surprising that software security practices remain in the realm of “We’ve always done it this way before”. Can they really expect to solve today’s security problems with an old way of thinking?
Traditional thinking typically starts with the premise that honest parties control the computer devices and any cryptographic operations are performed free from interference from would-be attackers. Given this, it’s probably understandable
Cryptography is no longer limited to the military and spies. This ancient art underpins modern life. It’s about encoding intelligible data, e.g. numbers, text and transforming them into something unreadable to anyone other than who the information is meant for. The question is, does it need an upgrade for today’s always connected world?
How secure is your house?
Hundreds of times a day we use cryptography in our everyday life. From the lock on the website that you’re browsing, remotely unlocking your car with the key fob to using all kinds of devices.
Statistically every person in the world between 15 to 64 years old has a smartphone or tablet today. In the next 5 years for every baby born 10 smartphones will be sold1. Smartphones have literally changed our lives, from playing, working to everyday living. But what can we learn from app developers, who’ve made mobile devices so powerful?
Learning from app developers
With 102 billion mobile app downloads to date – averaging 22 apps per device2 – it’s clear that software developers know what they are doing.
As Richard Branson said “Business opportunities are like buses. There’s always another coming along.” Looking at the online piracy world, the latest bus is exploiting software media centers. And unfortunately, many consumers are being taken for a ride.
I’ve mentioned it before, online pirates are undoubtedly criminals. Yet they’re also entrepreneurs. The pirates are continually adapting. To effectively fight online piracy means keeping up to date with their latest activities.
APIs are everywhere in modern day life. We rely on them to access services on mobiles, tablets and laptops. Without them our day-to-day life wouldn’t be the same. Yet they are also increasing the attack surface. Are they really a friend to e-commerce or to cybercrime?
APIs are not new. They’ve been around a long time. APIs are key to building scalable web-based applications as they allow and manage the interaction between 2 online connected services.
In today’s OTT world, pay-media operators continually modify their business models to find the sweet spot; what resonates best with their consumers. Unfortunately, the same is true with cybercriminals. For them, the introduction of account generator sites is at the heart of this evolution.
No longer limited to the DarkNet
In an earlier blog, I explained how compromised account details are regularly being sold on the DarkNet. However, in the last few months the Irdeto cyber-services team has witnessed a change.
On a recent flight, I was sat next to a security auditor. He asked “can someone steal keys used to encrypt credit cards from the server memory?” It depends, was my reply. But his question left me wondering. Why hasn’t anyone built a server side white box implementation?
Why does it depend?
Like any implementation, some are more secure than others. If the server side code was using ‘standard cryptographic APIs’ and they were black box implementations then
Browser security isn’t a new problem. Apple, Google, Microsoft and Mozilla have put a huge amount of effort into enabling consumers to have a secure browsing experience. But who’s thinking about the web site operators and their secure browsing experience?
Internet trust is dependent on certification authorities; with TLS/SSL being the most commonly used technology for securing electronic commerce transactions online. It’s all about enabling the consumer to access web services and be reasonably confident they know who they are talking to.
There’s no doubt about it, cyber-attacks are increasing. A consequence of this is a rise in cybersecurity litigation. Interestingly, that litigation may not necessarily be directed against the cybercriminals. Instead, it is likely to be another threat that the breached company has to deal with.
Just as cyber-attacks are generating publicity, so too are the subsequent litigation activities. What makes them newsworthy seems to be the dollar amount.
In Star Wars: The Force Awakens, the sinister First Order dominates the galaxy, with only a small band of trusted resistance fighters left. What’s the link to today’s software world you may ask? It all comes down to the power of cryptography to defeat the dark side.
In this software controlled world the need for software protection is unavoidable. This protection extends to all aspects of day-to-day life. It could be securing your credit card details when shopping on line or a business safeguarding a remote network connection to even protecting premium content such as a blockbuster movie.