Cybersecurity: a lucrative sector (?)

It all started with Wikileaks (yes, yes, again!). The security firm HBGary (works for the Pentagon) boasted it has enough information on Anonymous which tried to fight back the onslaught Wikileaks was facing to turn its members to the US government. Given that we are in the cyberworld, the immediate response has been: hacking … in HBGary computer systems. And it is wonderful to look at what is happening: first to learn that a firm that supposedly advices the US government on cybersecurity issues has been hacked, second to learn the extent of the hack, and the extent of lack of professionalism of the company that professes its opposite (e.g., one of the senior executives used the same password for his Gmail account and HBGary account when Gmail accounts are notoriously known for their lack of security). But maybe what is more worrying is the way the US Government goes about cybersecurity: victim of a fraud (see below) and some would argue close to a fraud with HBGary (if they can’t implement strong security settings for themselves, how can they advice their clients to do so). Yet, that is not the end of the matter; the UK has commissioned Detica to write a report on the cost of cybercrime in 2011. Fine, but 1) the report does not explain why Detica has been chosen; 2) the report does  not really explain how the calculations are made, which feels like if things have been hyped up, 3) and when one learns that the MET has not been consulted, the report appears even more suspect. In addition, when one digs about Detica, well, one learns that it is part of the BAE systems, which was under investigation by the SFO for its arms deals with Saudi Arabia, and that BAE systems suffering spending cuts from Gvts (US and UK) is reconverting itself into cybersecurity. Lots of questions thus about what all this fuss about national security is…

US Paid Millions For Bogus (Patented) Intelligence Software; Now Trying To Cover It Up Claiming ‘National Security’, TechDirt 21 February 2011

More HBGary Federal Fallout: The Government Wants To Buy Software To Fake Online Grassroots Social Media Campaigns, TechDirt 18 February 2011

Leaked HBGary Documents Show Plan To Spread Wikileaks Propaganda For BofA… And ‘Attack’ Glenn Greenwald, TechDirt 10 February 2011

Government Putting Quite A Lot Of Effort Into Tracking Down ‘Anonymous’, TechDirt 28 January 2011

Another aspect of this HBGary scandal is the effort some put in bringing disrepute and disruption to WIkileaks. It seems to confirm my intuition that Wikileaks got up the nose of too many people, Governments and powerful corporations to last without being seriously attacked. Wikileaks forces corporations and goverments to behave a bit better than they sometimes (often?) do. It does not go well with some.

US Government Officials Admit That They Lied About Actual Impact Of Wikileaks To Bolster Legal Effort, TechDirt 20 January 2011

NY Times Editor Says He’s ‘Alarmed’ By The Idea That The US Might Try To Prosecute Wikileaks, TechDirt 4 February 2011

Analysis: Wikileaks – Could big business be next?, Ethical Corporation website, 27 January 2011

About Audrey Guinchard

Senior Lecturer @ University of Essex (UK)
This entry was posted in censorship, Countries - UK, Countries - US, Cyberwar, Freedom of speech. Bookmark the permalink.

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