Using powers for good and not evil…second attempt

// Posted by on 05/29/2015 (7:19 AM)

I have learned from all the readings but one of my favorites is The Code War or a new Cold War.  Could someone as intelligent as Aaron Portnoy have found a legal way to enhance his knowledge other than hacking computers?  He must have been drawn to the thrill of getting caught.   Finding flaws in code that you didn’t create has to be very difficult and with some luck involved, for instance, the students who willingly gave up passwords.  I like how he is now using his powers for good as cofounder in Exodus Intelligence.  The people creating the code could learn from him.

I truly have mixed emotions.  On the one hand, I think that personal data should be protected and only disclosed after full agreement has been reached by all parties as to how much will be gather and by whom.  But then, on the other hand, if secret surveillance was not allowed would we be able to effectively identify and prevent the bad guys?   I think I was better off not knowing about what governments are doing to each other, seems like flexing muscles to me.  Fortunately, some good, other than worry, has come from expanding my awareness, it has enforced that I must be much more cautiously and cross my fingers it helps investing in good spyware.  

A few months ago my company was victimized by a cyberattack.  Never in a million years would I have guessed that a company as large as Anthem would become vulnerable.  We have very good security because a lot of people depend on us to handle their PHI.   It took months to uncover and millions of dollars of restitution to gain back the trust of employees and our Policyholders.  We outside a lot of our technical work to the Philippines and India so naturally the rumors started flying.  The FBI has been investigating this for months and still no word as to who or why.  I guess years from now someone will stumble upon the culprit like Murchu did Stuxnet.   Nothing is private anymore.

Disclaimer:  I don’t know what happened to my post from yesterday but when I view the content after trying to upload pictures it was missing, poof!  I had hoped it was a nightmare and when I checked it this morning it would have magically reappeared.  Guess not…

Categories: Uncategorized


Rosatelli said...

Hi Shirley,

I’m so sorry that your post disappeared! One of the most fascinating things about the Stuxnet case (and, by the way, Flame puts Stuxnet to shame!) is that private, multi-national corporations were working against the US government and Israel. This is where, if we had more time, we could really get into some good Saskia Sassen and Mark Poster arguments about the dwindling power of the nation state in the digital age. Despite the act of war that Stuxnet was engaging, it was not the citizens of the country that were first and foremost in the minds of those were trying to figure out the secrets of the malware–it was for their clients. Clients v. Citizens. What’s the difference? Something to think about!

// 05/29/2015 at 8:37 pm

Kindall said...

Shirley- I think you are right, nothing is private now.

But your title mentions good and evil. While there are hackers out there who specialize in breaking into secure systems like that of Anthem, then there have to be equally as talented tech specialists who can detect flaws in the system to protect it.

These are the people I want working for my companies and providers.

What is the appeal to hackers? Are they all after money, or do you think someone had a personal vendetta against Anthem… perhaps denial of coverage?

// 05/30/2015 at 12:24 pm

Jessie said...


I agree with you and also have mixed emotions. I feel that personal data should be protected and should only be disclosed after fully agreeing to the terms. On the other hand, I understand the need the government has for the surveillance and for the lack of transparency, which leaves me conflicted and my head spinning. I actually think there are many benefits to the surveillance if it is used in positive way and think that the cyber culture that founded the Internet had it right in their ideal of a shared consciousness.

// 05/30/2015 at 2:03 pm