This past week (17th-24th March) Cyberworkspace and Cultivating Coder’s held a “Cyberheroes program” in Rotterdam to inculcate the practice of ethical hacking amongst a growing population of high-schoolers who are consumers and makers of technology (basically coding).
It was pretty much a hands-on week full of learning new stuff and coding, ending with a competition that involved using Burp suite, brute force hacking with a word-list, hashing algorithms and some de-ciphering (sound signal, images, base 64 to hex and binary code etc). And more neuronal fizzling stuff which I don’t remember because my frontal lobe has a short circuit now..
Dutch Cybersecurity (pun intended..)
Since I travel a fair bit, I’ve discovered/learned that learning is contextual. So there is a reason why the Dutch are advanced in their practice of privacy and cybersecurity, and the Americans are good at using technology for business, Indians who live in perpetual cosmic chaos have the notion of “jugaad”(quick fix) and are good at solving immediate problems with or without technology.
The Dutch thrive in a state of order and over-preparation (which is actually just normal prep to them). So “Cyber-Resiliance” and the practice of ethical hacking within a certain “framework” to improve governance and business is something that was very new to us is something that seems quite obvious to the Dutch.
The Dutch mentality to cybersecurity is not about “It won’t happen” it’s more about “What will you do when it happens?” so in short they’re talking about Cyber – re·sil·ience:
the capacity to recover quickly from difficulties; toughness.
Mostly on average the mentality towards a consumer network being compromised is:
- Ok so what your data has been leaked? It’s the internet. Here take a voucher for 20% off.
The program had guest speakers such as creator of PGP mail encryption software Phil Z, Sufiyaan a moroccan ethical hacker and others!
It was an action packed week!
We got to visit Cybersprint at the Hague Security Delta Campus, which was cool and got to check in on some of the other companies working there.
Also met a Dutch cop @DJ_Grootenboer who is breaking the internet (quite literally).. and I learned about post growth economics with the Do Good Only Company
And towards the end there was a hackathon..
I wish there were more exchange programs like these, it’s just very useful and interesting to be immersed in a particular setting and learn tech contextually also to have that kind of support which unfortunately isn’t always available online as yet.
The CyberHeroes program was an eye opener and very interesting. Everyone went back with an appreciation for order, privacy. And now I’m doing a course on Burp Suite through Udemy 🙂
RANDOM DISORGANIZED THOUGHTS ..
I think… with the world becoming more connected, there will be networks of self sustaining groups connected through networks and not necessarily geographically. Right now about 55% of the world has access to the internet or uses it. The concept of nation is determined by it’s geographical borders so any group of people living within a certain geographical boundary and practicing certain cultural practices bound by a collective history are a nation. What about inter-linking within and and across people of nations in cyberspace?
Some nations/states are practicing this concept of linking by linking private systems to government (for better or worse..). For example in India where everyone happens to “know” or be “related” someone that you know, but nobody actually trusts each other? And “KYC”(know your customer) verification is practiced extensively without regard for privacy even for the smallest of things..
But at the same time time networks can also be empowered to do good and mobilize almost instantaneously. For example in March of this year the states of India and Pakistan had yet another showdown, this time it was because of army personnel killed in the state of Kashmir by insurgents. Kashmiri students who study throughout India had their facebook, instagram and other social profiles collected by national right wing hardliners who started intimidating and seeking out individual Kashmiri students and posting their info on right wing whatsapp groups. In such a case, the students resorted to using their own whatsapp groups to collect, pass on travel information and leave cities in groups and go to the state of Punjab where about 200 students were sent back to their home state in Kashmir through a charity group called Khalsa Aid in about 72 hours.
Not sure why telegram was not used but whatsapp is very BIG in India. There are people running their businesses off whatsapp groups..
So basically you had two factions located in the same region geographically using the same network within their individual groups. There could be have communal violence had the students group and information been compromised. Yes things can turn shitty pretty fast..
These are mostly geo -political and ideological issues that intersect the internet space. Much outside the realm of ordinary citizens such as me (ha-ha-ha!).