“It’s not computers that attack us; it is man ”. Continue reading…

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With a 30-year career with the British secret service MI6 Sir Alex Younger was a keynote speaker at a private cybersecurity smart company Recorded futures annual Predict conference.

Younger, a former British Army officer, joined MI6 – officially known as the intelligence – 1991. He worked undercover as a diplomat in Europe, the Middle East and Afghanistan before becoming Chief (“C”) of MI6 in 2014. He served as the C for six years through 2020, making it the longest-serving person serving the Post.

Younger shared stories and insights from his time as a spy master and had some advice for companies battling evolving cyber threats. These were the main topics of conversation from his conversation with the Co-Founder and CEO of Recorded Future Christopher Ahlberg.

On Her Majesty’s Secret Service

With the latest James Bond movie No time to dieIn the cinemas, questions about Ian Fleming’s fictional spy universe were inevitable. Younger emphasized the “creepy resemblance” between him and British actor Ralph Fiennes, who plays James Bond’s MI6 boss named “M”.

  • “I visited (Ralph Fiennes) on the set. He’s a great actor and when he spoke to me he became more like me. It was really terrifying. “
  • “The Bond thing – it’s great! It made us more famous than Pepsi. The only thing that would shock people about my previous ministry is that we are a lot smaller than people think. “
  • “If I were to tell you that we are looking for emotional intelligence, teamwork and willingness to learn, you have to admit that James Bond doesn’t really jump out of the way at this stage.”

“Data throws light into the cracks we used to work in, but it throws new shadows”

There are three types of intelligence sources: Human Intelligence (HUMINT) from classic activities of James Bond and John LeCarré; Signal intelligence (SIGINT) obtained from electronic surveillance and open source intelligence (OSINT) obtained from freely shared data on the Internet.

  • “The way I acted as a secret service agent 30 years ago is completely out of date. (Today) a google search would reveal it. It is absolutely not useful. “
  • “The most important thing is that open source is a means of gathering knowledge. Which is not only significantly cheaper, but also poses no risk and, above all, can be used immediately by a political master without fear of damage to any sources and methods. “
  • “I think historically western governments fetishize secret things to a certain extent and use open source to authenticate what they find out. It should be exactly the opposite: the predominant thrust of our work should be to get everything we can from open source, which is cheap and low risk, and use national security measures to validate the bits that really need to be validated . “
  • “Data throws light into the cracks we used to work in, but it throws new shadows.”

New cyber threats

Online villains are known in the cybersecurity industry as “threat actors” and fall into different groups such as hoodie-clad “script kiddies” Shut down online services for bragging rights and Advanced Persistent Threats such as government sponsored activities and criminal gangs.

  • “We haven’t seen any serious evidence that terrorists are trying to turn this into weapons.”
  • “I would speculate that terrorism is ultimately a political act and that there is a significant visual part of what they do. The violence is intended to shock, disgust and frighten in order to accelerate the reaction that they want to provoke. “
  • “I am much more concerned about the emergence of what we call ‘hybrid warfare’ and the reality that wars of the future will be waged without being explained and without knowing who we are fighting.”

“The individual can change the course of history”

With a three-decade career in government sponsored espionage, who better to tell us about life as a spy?

  • “People think spies are cynical, rather dry people. We’re basically romantics because we’re adventurers. We believe that individuals can change the course of history, and we are seeing it happen. “
  • “I absolutely miss being a spy; it was my calling. It is a whole social ecosystem and the people who are attracted to this world are interested in other people and want to make a difference. And they naturally stimulate people to be around. “

It’s not machine versus human

Computers are an important tool in our information age, but let’s not forget who is really pulling the strings, according to Younger.

  • “Network defense is not a technology priority. It’s not computers attacking us; it’s the people. “

Recorded Future was founded in 2009 and provides enterprise security intelligence by combining automated data collection and analysis with human analysis. The virtual company Prediction 21 Conference ends on October 13th.

Read more: Here are 43 James Bond investments

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