If Gov’t enabled everyone to protect their home computers from hackers, they’d have less problems with cyber-terrorism

This was a letter to the Daily Express after a scare piece on Cyber Terrorism, which I believe was intended to back up Cameron’s approach to Obama about sharing  access to everyone’s tweets etc.

Ross Clark’s piece on cyber terror is quite worrying, not because the threat exists but because of the suggestion that we are vulnerable.
The Millenium bug problem pointed up the danger of software that had been disseminated without anyone upgrading it to allow for a spillover in the date calculation.
However the glitch was fixed and we did not, as threatened, have passenger planes falling from the skies.
It seems ridiculous that an industry, where Goldmann-Sachs has just announced average bonuses of £250,000, can not have taken measures to safeguard themselves from a cyber attack.
Fair enough, there have been recent debilitating hacker attacks but these have been trivial. The Sony attack was apparently an inside job. The attack on a computer games console was by a lad in Southport and exploited software intended to allow interaction. It was easily remedied. An important U.S. agency had its Twitter account hacked and had to quickly shut down, with no real damage.
Most of these hacks were trivial hacks, on par with my opening a spam email.
Just consider cyber attacks from a home computer aspect.
I have free anti-virus software, free anti-spyware and free anti-malware. I keep these up-to-date and use them regularly. My microsoft platform can help me recover from a computer crash by storing computer images on an independent hard-drive, which I can use to restore to an earlier version.
My house-keeping consists of a daily anti-virus up-date and computer sweep. This is followed by running software, which removes all temporary files, caches, cookies etc.
I check my e-mails, deleting, or blocking all spam. I then surf the Net, using software, which blocks pop-ups and pop-unders, which might take me to unwanted and dangerous sites.
In the event of my computer slowing, or giving some hint of unwanted invasive software (more often by commercial operations, than a hacker), I have a physical disconnect switch preventing internet access. I can run a cache clean and an anti-malware sweep, before switching back on.
I download my files (pictures, documents etc.) on a monthly basis, to a hard-drive.
New important files, or files, which I’m currently working on, are stored on DVD drive, or smart-card, immediately after use.
I’m aware that there are hackers, out there, who might, through devilment, or psychotic rage, may want to attack me and may crash my computer. I may lose some files but most will be stored off-line and data lost will be minimal and usually replaceable.
On a national scale, Governments have people, who can write computer code in real-time and they have sufficient computer memory to eavesdrop and record all our e-mails and other social media.
They and the Multi-nationals must be able to safeguard themselves to an even better extent.
The real problem with Cyber-terror arises from men who want to control everything directly through their own personal console.
I operate, on-line, only part of the day, with a single computer network. Large organisations could run three networks on a rotating shift system; Uploading files, using files on-line, down-loading and screening files.
There is no need for every part of every computer function to be networked and on-line.
Why should it be possible for terrorists to be hypothetically able to take control of an aeroplane? An aeroplane needs radio contact during a flight. That doesn’t have to be connected to any other systems, except for automatic landing operations, which the pilot should be able to over-ride with a simple switch.
Reduce the level of automation and put humans in control of network connection. E.g. if you want to shut down a particular Power Station, on the National Grid, don’t have somebody in a Master control room doing it with a button. Make him phone a person in that Power Station, who can question the decision.
Denial of service attacks rely on Bots.
If Governments, instead of trying to hack everyone’s computers, provided free software to safeguard home computer’s from such invasive software, then a lot of cyber-terror would be severely hampered.


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