That old new

In Information Security ByTeam Acumin / 6th December 2011

It’s always the case that the latest gadget, fad, instrument of innovation, touted as being brand new and state-of-the-art, is, technically, if we are to be a bit pedantic about it, ‘old’.

It may appear to be an anomalous statement, because, if we take the iPad 2, when it first came out, it was indeed the latest iteration of what is surely going to be a longstanding series of products. It was ‘as new as new can be’.

But, if we take a wider look at the picture, the technology used in developing the multimedia tablet, the blueprint for its design, the research and testing of it, occurred well ahead of that.

A prototype no doubt would have been in place months before its release, if not a final product. Professionals working in the information security & risk management industries will no doubt agree that real world perceptions of time are not what they seem. We’re either behind or kept in the dark. Not maliciously mind you, it’s just a matter of fact of how life is.

So, it gives context as to why the government’s intelligence agency GCHQ, laden with expertise and knowledge and technical savvy, keeps information about its operations hidden, encrypted if we want to use our language. National security is, of course, a very pressing matter. The more people know about any given subject the wider the likelihood of its dissemination when the opposite is desired.

However, judging the time is apt; the GCHQ has decided to share such information and technology with various businesses, as it seeks to adopt a more collaborative – open source approach if you will – in the fight against cybercrime.

As the BBC notes, as well as being a routine exercise in promoting better security, the decision is also economic. Internet business generates about six per cent of the government’s GDP. To give it greater whammy, that figure outstrips agriculture or utilities.

On a more relevant note to those of us working in and around cyber security, this greater access to information will help many people develop defences against the surreptitious threat posed by criminals operating in the virtual landscape. It’s up there on a level with international terrorism so the BBC story reads.

That we can appreciate and we wait with baited breath as to what fascinating developments have been made. And with that information we will develop our own solutions, independently and collaboratively, or at least discuss them at events like the RANT forum each month.

So, though that information may in fact be ‘second-hand’, what we do with it, is new. Magic, no?