Davey Winder’s Security Spotlight – part 4

Here is a fresh bulletin from NetReporter Senior Contributor Davey Winder. Davey is a global authority on cybersecurity issues, and a Senior Contributor to forbes.com among other leading titles, He is the only three-time winner of the ‘Security Journalist of the Year’ accolade.

Davey Winder, cybersecurity writer


As a rather warm but windy and wet August comes to a close, or at least it was for me here in West Yorkshire, the security landscape looks equally unsettled. These last couple of weeks have seen me polling the infosecurity community about smart locks, getting my head around some seriously complex math that could both help replace and strengthen password authentication, and even channelling Yoda as the latest ransomware threat actor emerges. But I will start my round-up of cybersecurity news worthy of your attention by channelling not Yoda but the late Nicholas Parsons.


Without hesitation, deviation or repetition I reported on what can happen in just a minute of malicious internet time. The latest RiskIQ research revealed that within just 60 seconds, 375 new cybersecurity threats will emerge and 16,172 data records will be compromised. And, to mix my light entertainment metaphors, that’s just your starter for ten. You can read the full story here.


Sticking with the numbers game, I took to Twitter to poll my 11,500 followers, mostly within the infosec community one way or another, about smart locks. I simply asked if they would use a smart lock to secure the home, office or anything for that matter. Of the 549 people who responded, 400 of them said “get in the sea.” That’s a no, in case you were wondering. However, the juxtaposition of cyber and physical risk that the smart lock scenario presents deserves a deeper analysis than that. Which you can hopefully find in my article at Forbes.


Which leaves me with the math stuff, so I hope you are up for some serious security brain-strain. There were two exciting developments in the world of authentication that caught my attention, or rather ‘future developments’ to be precise. The first was a deceptively simple device, a plastic box that snaps 25 dice into a grid, which helps quickly create a cryptographic key with an astonishing 196 bits of entropy. Just as astonishing, that key can be recreated again and again on demand. DiceKeys is that device, not available until January 2021, but that didn’t stop me exploring the technology and math with the inventor. Oh, and one of the advisors to the project is none other than cryptographic legend Bruce Schneier, so don’t be too quick to dismiss this one.


And finally, there’s the really futuristic stuff: what if I were to tell you that passwords could be replaced with virtually unbreakable Quantum IDs containing 1,000 trillion atoms? The most powerful scanning probe microscopes would take about the age of the universe (13 billion years) to produce a working copy. Yep, that. These atomic-scale optical authentication tags could be the solution to the supply chain security problem. The science is mind-boggling, but the product could be a huge step forward when it comes to counterfeit prevention.


Image courtesy of StockVault.


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