Did the Iranians hack you? | Opinion


Maybe you feel it too, and maybe not, but the passing of Queen Elizabeth II seemed to me to have expanded the collective sense of self to a more worldly and universal view. I can’t understand if that’s ironic, because the British Empire, shrunken as it has been, goes against worldliness. Regardless, whenever a world event such as the evolution of the monarchy takes over days of news cycles, I believe we can grow and learn by tuning into and contemplating our American place in the framework. broader peoples and cultures of the Earth and holding on to my mark, its security.

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine strikes me as similar in how it broadens my focus beyond American events. When the FIFA World Cup kicks off on the pitch in November, we will have another opportunity. These events, whether festive or tragic, provide opportunities to envelop you in global society and to be unified as a part of something greater than your friends and relatives. And, as I suggested, it may also illuminate the pervasive problem of security threats, even in the niche I crawl into – information security – that we need to stay aware of and continually mitigate against.

When it comes to information, at least in its electronic form, we are truly all connected. Hands Across America was one thing, but your connection to X thousand or X million nodes downstream along the information highway is just the beginning. The Internet of Royals is surely configured with the utmost care and the highest level of security. Yet it’s still connected to each of our own modems, WiFi networks, and Internet of Things devices. This is why, or at least a reason why, in the age of the Internet, we gain from understanding the world a little more; to be compassionate, sympathetic and empathetic. We already communicate with the world, whether we recognize it or use other people’s languages ​​to do so. Thus, we must continue to learn about it beyond our own selfish bookmarks and online newsfeeds.

If all the pomp and ceremony of Queen Elizabeth II’s death and the simultaneous rise of King Charles III’s place in the monarchy distracts the attention of the Royals’ IT security team to the point that relentless cybercriminals and concentrates exploit a loophole in their online defenses, there is no doubt that, directly or indirectly, we will all be more vulnerable in terms of the security of our own information.

I have indicated the death of the former queen as an illustrative point, but substance matters almost the least. Russia-Ukraine… ditto. It is not what is happening on the world stage that we need to follow and learn from. It is that we must always be on our toes, and by engaging in these substantial opportunities to learn more about the world, we can not only continue to have a more holistic view of how we are all connected through the internet. We also learn about the humans behind the information that needs to be secured. Every day, or even every hour, another opportunity presents itself.

I venture to guess that a small percentage of readers here know a lot or have a lot of connections to Albania, for example. Albania is a rather small nation-state in the Balkans with just under three million citizens. After gaining independence from the Ottoman Empire, the United States embraced it through our first wave of diplomacy in the early 1920s. When Italy and Germany subsequently occupied Albania during the World War II, we backed off and broke the partnership. It was only in 1991 that our diplomatic relations were renewed, after the fall of communism. During these 40 to 50 years, there were light but regular Albanian migrations to America. There are now about 115,000 Albanian-Americans in the United States, more than half of whom live in New York and its greater tri-state area.

Our relationship with the Albanians continues to grow. Iran, on the other hand, has mostly grown in its hostility towards Albania. Since ancient times before our era, the two have been at odds. The lineage of the Albanians came mainly from the ancient Illyrians, Greek allies. The ethnicity and history of Iranians was strongly rooted in the Persian Empire. The recent rift, diplomatically speaking, between Albania and Iran culminated last week when Prime Minister Edi Rama ordered Iranian embassy staff to vacate its facilities. Diplomatic relations between Tirana and Tehran broke down again.

Why could you benefit from knowing this, yet another distant international kerfuffle involving two nations not counting the United States? That’s partly because, as the old saying goes, “My enemy’s enemy is my friend.” We align our “friendships” based on relationships with others. This is by design and by necessity. In addition, you can learn from it in terms of your own information security interests.

Go figure, the straw loaded by Iran that broke Tirana’s back was a hack. You see, Albania has been very welcoming to the People’s Mojahedin of Iran, essentially a group of Iranian refugees determined to peacefully overthrow Iran’s oppressive and clerical regime and replace it with a more secular democratic system of government. . Part of this change is to return Iran to a non-nuclear state.

Iran’s response to Albania’s cooperation with the resistance has been to target its critical infrastructure through cyber warfare. It devastated Albanian government websites and its online functioning. It has accessed or destroyed government data and that of its citizens. Imagine all of your own personal, financial, educational, health, and other sensitive information that the US government keeps. Can you name a few? Social security, student loans, tax information. Now imagine what happens to your valuable data when an enemy of the United States takes it, alters it, or sells it.

With your acute imagination painting this picture, you are a citizen of the world. You develop your empathy for our Albanian allies. All of this is based on universal and modern cybersecurity threats. As a true citizen of the world, you have just added to information security for all.

Ed is a cybersecurity professor, lawyer and ethicist by training. Contact him at [email protected]


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