As many of you know, Forget the Box got a wee bit hacked last week.   Unfortunately, these things happen to the best of us.   No cloud being without its smidgen of silver lining, however, our website troubles soon led us into an acquaintance with Terry Cutler, the co-founder of Digital Locksmiths.

Digital Locksmiths is a Montreal-based data defence services company that helps organizations defend themselves against hackers and other malicious online activity. In addition to this, Terry is a Certified Ethical Hacker, speaker and lecturer on internet safety for kids and parents, and a regular contributor to Securityweek.com.

I was able to get in touch with Terry to get some more details about hacking, ethical hacking and being smart on the internet. You’ll find some of the highlights of our conversation below.

 

1. Ethical hacking what is it exactly? How does one become an Ethical Hacker?
Ethical hacking is, essentially, learning how the bad guys do what they do, so that you can prevent it and fix it. I got into it because I was inspired by watching shows like CSI and 24 and wondered how Cloe O’Brian was breaking into all those systems so fast. I did some research and found an organization called The EC-Council that created a course called the Certified Ethical Hacker and in 2005 I got certified through them.

2. Who hacks? (And I mean hacks for malicious intent, not ethically). Is there a profile of a hacker? What are they trying to do?
Hackers come in all shapes and sizes they can be anyone from disgruntled employees, to bored teenagers, to organized criminals. If you remember the Sony Hacker story from earlier this year, you can start to get an idea of how this type of hacking can come from within an organization as well as from without. People hack for fun or revenge or profit it’s often hard to tell what the motivation could be. There are also those hackers that fall under the title of Hacktivists. Remember WikiLeaks? This can range from what seems like espionage to whistleblowing. It’s for, in the minds of the hacktivists at least, in the public interest.

3. What can a blog like ours, or a small business owner operating online, do to protect themselves from hacking and other cyber threats? (Short of hiring Digital Locksmiths!)
Always stay current on your website updates. If you get a few updates behind you can really be opening yourself up to attack. There can also be issues with one hosting provider over another, so do your research and be willing to change if you experience problems.

4. Most of our readers have grown up using the internet for everything – it’s about as natural as breathing. Are there stupid mistakes you find people often make on the internet without giving it a second thought?
A lot of this comes down to social media these days. Most people open emails from what appears to come from someone they know and are easily fooled into clicking on links. What they don’t know is that those links can pull down malware and viruses to your PC. Have you ever gotten an invite on Facebook or LinkedIn in your email inbox and accepted it without going through to the website? This is how a lot of information gets stolen. If you’re dealing with a social media site, always manage your interactions on the site itself and not through the Hotmail inbox.

5. What do you imagine the coming years will hold for internet security? Will we all have retina scanners on our monitors?
Biometrics are a possibility, but what is really happening is increased mobility, especially smartphones. More and more is being done on cell phones pretty soon they could even replace your computer and equally open you up to malicious hacking. When that occurs, you’ll be pretty much back to square one. It’s something that we’re thinking about now, but it can be difficult to predict exactly what will happen.

 

Talking with Terry was incredibly interesting. It’s fantastic to meet someone so knowledgeable in his field and active in the community especially one so willing to share what he knows with the rest of us! Thanks Terry, from all the staff at Forget the Box!

You can find more information about Terry Cutler on his website: www.TerryCutler.com and about Digital Locksmiths at www.digitallocksmiths.ca. I’d also like to recommend you check out one of Terry’s presentations on internet safety for kids and parents. A refresher never hurts for those of us who use the internet every day!

Title photo courtesy of www.photoxpress.com, body photo of Terry Cutler from www.terrycutler.com.

I’m sorry, I don’t have a business post for you today.

I have to be honest, after Monday’s nail-bitingly tense election I’m lucky I’ve been able to function the past few days.

Nail-bitingly tense of course, for those who voted. What a showing for the NDP! What a blow to the Liberals! And the bloc! I didn’t expect to see that in my lifetime.

It was only nail-bitingly tense, of course, for those who voted. A lot of people didn’t, so despite the historic, meteoric rise of a party fighting for the values of you and I, we’re left with a majority government bent on turning us into an American vassal that was selected by 24% of the population. 40% of the country didn’t bother voting at all. That’s a lot of people. You probably know one. So I’d like you to find one of them and say:

Thank you! Thank you for helping us to live in a world where prisons and fighter jets are more important than healthcare and education.   Where our parents and grandparents can fear for their financial security. Where women won’t have equality or a forum to talk about it. Where people can keep hoping that those tax breaks for the super rich and giant corporations will really `trickle down` instead of seeing first hand that, given the slightest opportunity, small businesses will create 4x more jobs! Where we can continue to pay high rates of interest and have the worst internet service in the developed world! Where the rest of us can take our rightful second (or third, or fourth) place behind straight, white, Christian males. Thank you for making sure that when we travel to other countries we can be ashamed to claim Canadian citizenship. Where the last gasps of a dying industry are given more importance than the very planet we live on. Where we can keep looking forward to more of the same because the party in power certainly isn’t going to get behind election reform.

I could accept all of this if it was what the majority of us decided. But we didn’t. From an insidious combination of voter apathy and our archaic electoral process we are left again and more thoroughly with a government that does not represent us.

A lot of people worked tirelessly so that this wouldn’t happen, and their work wasn’t for nothing. Maybe it will take four years of the `Harper` government to make everyone else realize that what we really need is a government of Canada. That represents all of Canada.

These are some organizations working to make this happen:

www.apathyisboring.com
www.fairvote.ca
www.democracyinaction.org

Check them out, spread the word, and tell every person who didn’t vote just exactly what they agreed to. Silence is assent.