Everyone is talking about the Shadow Brokers and for good reason. How did one group singlehandedly infiltrate our agency whose main purpose is to protect classified information? They have released the information over a span of three years, yet no one knows who they are. What is interesting to me is that instead of using the stolen hacking tools to their own personal and secretive advantage, they are simply dumping it on the Internet for anyone to see. It makes me wonder what their ultimate motive is. We know who they are harming, but who is this benefitting? A lot of clues point to Russia. I’m not informed enough about international relations to have an opinion on it, but I’d say that’s a good guess. It obviously has to be a technologically advanced nation big enough to risk having a major intelligence-agency on the search for them.
What does this mean for everyone else? Obviously, it’s embarrassing that the NSA can’t solve the mystery, but they’re our best bet. It means that someone has the upper hand in this cyberwar. Mike McConnell thinks that our problem does not lie in our offensive tactics but rather our lack of defense. While I agree with McConnell, our guest lecturer Michael Sulmeyer brought up the point that no one has made an effort to retaliate. If the U.S. were to launch a counter cyber attack on Russia or North Korea, then they would be stirring up more conflict. The government’s job is not to win the ultimate argument. Their job is to protect us from having our privacy invaded and property stolen.
This Shadow Broker leak is a big deal in the privacy of technology, yet I don’t find myself particularly moved to take more precautions. I just don’t feel like my information is of any value to Russian officials and the like. However, I’ve seen too many scary articles and episodes of Black Mirror to not feel paranoid and know better. While I think everyone can improve their cyber hygiene, I think there should be better ways to protect ourselves. Why is it so hard to use the Internet without fear of putting personal information in the wrong hands? I will say I feel a lot more prepared for potential viruses and scams as opposed to the older generation just because I grew up on the Internet and probably use it a lot more often. But then there are some viruses that spread through vulnerabilities rather than user interactions–when that happens, well, no one is safe.