DLD 2013: Cyber warfare and content distribution
Jan. 28, 2013
by Mark Ollig

Over 150 speakers and 800 attendees were present at the DLD (Digital-Life-Design) 2013 technology conference recently which took place in Munich, Germany.

DLD brings together influential people who are knowledgeable about how digital technology, social culture, and science can be merged to create innovation on a global level.

One panel discussion addressed computer cyber warfare issues facing countries and governments.

“When we started in the late 1980s, early 1990s, the enemy was very simple . . . the kids and teenagers, happy hackers writing viruses and trojans for fun; they had no real motive to do their attacks at all,” stated Mikko Hypponen.

Hypponen is the chief research officer for F-Secure, a company providing Internet security solutions.

He also assisted law enforcement in the US, Europe and Asia on cybercrime cases.

“Today, all the attackers have motives for their actions,” Hypponen said.

He went on to say the “happy hackers” have disappeared, and that today, we have criminals who try to make money with their cyber-attacks, and the “hacktivists” who try to protest with their cyber-attacks.

Hypponen then talked about cyber-attacks via “governmental activity,” which includes “government’s attacking against their own citizens with malware, and governments attacking against other governments for espionage purposes.”

He said the “real offensive cyber action” is cyber warfare.

Computer scientists, according to Hypponen, lost their innocence in 2009, when the dangerous computer Stuxnet virus was used in a cyber-attack for the first time.

He also brought up the more recent cyber warfare virus, called Flame.

It is not known which country created Flame; however, it is known that Flame is considered the most complex cyber weapon of all time.

Flame is a sophisticated “attack toolkit” containing 20 times as much software programming code as Stuxnet.

The virus is capable of harvesting data files, and can remotely change settings on a computer.

It can turn on a computer’s microphone to record room conversations.

This virus can capture “screen shots” of what is being displayed on a computer. It can record and log instant messaging chats, and more.

Flame is said to be 100 times as complex as a normal computer virus.

The Flame virus was discovered by Eugene Kaspersky’s lab in 2012.

“It’s not cyber war, it’s cyber terrorism,” said Eugene Kaspersky, chairman and CEO of Kaspersky Lab.

“It’s just a matter of time when we have the next very serious incident . . . my question is, are we ready for that?” Kaspersky asked.

Kaspersky is a Russian specialist with 25 years of experience in the information technology security field.

“We should insist on global cooperation between countries and governments when fighting crime – however, we should not expect any cooperation between governments and countries when it comes to cyber espionage and cyber warfare, because countries and governments are doing it themselves,” Hypponen explained.

The DLD cyber warfare video can be seen at http://tinyurl.com/begohqv.

Another DLD panel consisted of journalists, whose discussion was titled “Future of Authority.”

The “authority” is the publisher or journalist who reports and brings news and content to the people.

The panel talked about the shifting changes in how current events are being distributed.

Just 20 years ago, when we sought current events happening within our state, or around the world, we looked to standard mainstream media platforms, such as newsprint, radio, and television.

The panel noted how the control of information and its content from these platforms has drastically changed.

Today, we are learning firsthand about the latest breaking-news stories happening throughout the world, by the very people directly affected.

These people are telling the stories in their own words, via video and text, over multiple online social media platforms.

Social media venues such as, Twitter, YouTube, Facebook, and others are now being used as the launching platforms for breaking-news headlines – many times being reported there first before mainstream media outlets obtain the information.

People are now directly sharing information with each other without it first being collected via traditional reporters and journalists, who customarily obtain, write, and edit the content before it is distributed to the mainstream media platforms.

These people are the new citizen journalists.

“There’s a flow of information that communities can now have among themselves that no longer needs the mediator – us – to make it happen,” said Jeff Jarvis, who is, himself, a journalist, and is currently director of interactive journalism at the City University of New York Graduate School of Journalism.

Jarvis went on to say, traditional journalists need to become “platform builders” to enable communities to share information among themselves however they wish, adding that the journalist needs to add value on top of this.

Jarvis said journalists need “to rethink where we are - not as factories that make content and sell content, but instead as services that accomplish things.”

Another journalist, Katharina Borchert, who writes for the German Spiegel online magazine, noted the many bloggers and others who use Facebook, for example, are now producing new content, whereas before, they (the traditional journalists) were providing it.

She used one example of people looking for content about cars.

Borchert described how some users still use traditional news websites to check out an advertiser, like a car dealership. She emphasized these websites work hard in order to keep users there.

However, she acknowledged many users will now go directly to a car manufacturer’s website because “they have brilliant, high quality, beautiful content out there. The scope of content is also much bigger nowadays than it used to be.”

Jarvis brought up new content distribution models and how one website, http://www.repost.us can be used to make articles able to be embedded anywhere on the Internet, just like a YouTube video.

He also stated article content can now be sent over the Internet with brand, advertising, analytics, and links attached to it.

To watch the complete 35- minute video, “Future of Authority,” go to http://tinyurl.com/bacheqh.

A series of DLD videos from the 2013 conference are available at http://tinyurl.com/bxslpac.

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