Information Security – Crisis

I thought I would mention some of the events I’ve come across in recent times. This isn’t an exhaustive list or timelined resource of the most dramatic events – simply a reference to those that struck a chord with me or those I learned the details on. (All topics relate to digital security or privacy.)


An international mobile subscriber identity (IMSI) is a unique number, usually fifteen digits, associated with Global System for Mobile Communications (GSM) and Universal Mobile Telecommunications System (UMTS) network mobile phone users. The IMSI is a unique number identifying a GSM subscriber.

I came across this whilst watching a short VICE documentary on Snowden. What was most interesting was the highlighting of the usage of ISMI’s here in Oslo! In short the technology allows the police (or nefarious agent) to masquerade as a typical Telenor like phone tower and intercept information from your phone. To quote Snowden “They can always get to you. It’s just a question of time and resources.” Oslo story here.

Bernardino, California Attack

In my twenties I personally dismissed Apple as a company that did anything more than force people into a walled garden and who focused on style over substance. But this terror attack and the ensuing resilience of Apple to not create a backdoor caught my attention. Their privacy first stance (Apple Maps and Siri handle data very differently to Amazon and Google for example) elevates them to be by far the most trustworthy of our societies overarching platforms.


This topic needs no intro or summary from me! Are they spying? Are they corrupt? Is it a dangerous situation? The ‘banning’ of them lead me to learn how deeply ingrained/skilled the company is at providing infrastructure throughout the world, not just handsets ala Apple style.


This Wired article is one of the best pieces of journalism I’ve personally read. It reads like fiction and the event will surely be made into a film one day.

The code that the hackers pushed out was honed to spread automatically, rapidly, and indiscriminately. “To date, it was simply the fastest-propagating piece of malware we’ve ever seen,” says Craig Williams, director of outreach at Cisco’s Talos division, one of the first security companies to reverse engineer and analyze Not­Petya


Memorable for it’s effect, scary for it’s revealing the scale of opportunity available to those with the ability and the will. This attack in 2016 had a major effect.

“How teen scammers and CCTV cameras almost brought down the internet: Mirai took advantage of insecure IoT devices in a simple but clever way. It scanned big blocks of the internet for open Telnet ports, then attempted to log in default passwords. In this way, it was able to amass a botnet army. “

Full article link here


A lover of cyperpunk photography and the regular thought experiments of what kind of future awaits us has been suddenly realised with the protests in HK. The scale, the emotion, the importance of this event for the rest of the world is not to be understated or dismissed. These are people fighting for their human rights. Could we one day have them taken away from us in a similar scenario?

This article in the NY Times highlights the potential for face tracking to take away your freedom.

A cashless society isn’t all its meant to be. It’s dangerous from a privacy and human rights point of view. Here’s a good article again relating to the mayhem in Hong Kong.

Needing cash, needing anonymity


A default feature in chat apps such as WhatsApp its use in email isn’t assumed by many. Having used it with Hubspot for years I can personally attest to its power. A little notification every time someone re-opens that marketing email or important request reveals something about the interaction, and it feels slightly wrong because you can almost guarantee they are unaware that you know!

Superhuman were at the receiving end of this earlier in the summer > Techcrunch summary article here. It’s a mild topic in comparison to the others but it’s a personally important feature of day to day digital privacy and important technical knowledge.

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