Podcast Episode 136: The Geopolitics of Cyber Attacks with LookingGlass and Bruce Schneier on Public Interest Cyber

How will the collapse of the North Korean summit affect that country’s malicious activity online? LookingGlass* joins us to discuss. Also: how to attract more technologists to public interest work.


Note: this week’s podcast episode (#136) is sponsored by the firm LookingGlass Cyber Solutions.

President Trump has been courting North Korea, while punishing Iran. In our second segment, we talk with Olga Polishchuk of the firm LookingGlass Cyber Solutions about how geopolitical tensions influence cyber activity online.

But first: the information security industry is bigger and more diverse than ever. This week, it will converge on San Francisco for the 28th annual RSA Conference. The annual event, which started as a small, clubby gathering of cryptographers, now draws upwards of 40,000 people to downtown San Francisco. As always this year: there’s plenty of business to be done and deals to be struck at RSA on and off the show floor. But cyber security is about more than startups, VC rounds and IPOs. Information security, data security and individual privacy are areas of intense interest and from more than just investors. Lawmakers, civil liberties experts, human rights and non-governmental groups all have a role to play in protecting online privacy and individual rights in the 21st century.

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Bridging the gap

But convincing sought-after professionals to pass on a hot startup to do low paying work in the public interest is harder than it sounds. This year, show organizers at RSA have given over an entire track to explore  that problem. The Thursday session, dubbed Bridging the Gap: Cybersecurity + Public Interest Tech” will bring together experts from firms like Mozilla, Electronic Frontier Foundation, the Ford Foundation and Harvard University’s Kennedy School of government to talk about the need for information security pros to work within government, NGOs and civil liberties groups.

In our first session this week, I’m joined by two of the organizers of that event: Bruce Schneier is a fellow and Lecturer at  Harvard ‘sKennedy School and Michael Brennan is a program officer on the Technology and Society team. To start off I asked them to talk about how the idea came about to focus on the need to focus on public interest technologists in the cyber security industry.

Bruce Schneier is a fellow at the Berkman Center for Internet and Society at Harvard University, a fellow at the Belfer Center at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government. Michael Brennan is a program officer on the Technology and Society team.

The Cyber Consequences of “America First”

President Trump’s summit in Vietnam with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un went bust. But will the breakdown in talks reignite North Korean hacking activity against US targets?

And how about the U.S. administrations off- again, on-again trade negotiations with China? Have those quieted Chinese hackers preying on US firms, or accelerated such activity?

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Olga Polishchuk is a Senior Director of Analysis and Investigations at LookingGlass Cyber Solutions, Inc.

Those are the kind of questions our second guest, Olga Polishchuk of the firm LookingGlass. We invited Olga into the studio to talk about the evolving threat of spear phishing and executive email compromise attacks, as well as the effect of emerging regulatory frameworks like GDPR and state level data privacy laws in the US.

In this conversation, she talks about the growing role of cyber actions in geopolitical maneuvering. We also talk about the changing nature of targeted attacks like spear phishing and business email compromise attacks, which increasingly leverage highly accurate personal information to fool victims.

(*) LookingGlass Cyber Solutions is a sponsor of The Security Ledger. For more information on how Security Ledger works with its sponsors and sponsored content on Security Ledger, check out our About Security Ledger page on sponsorships and sponsor relations.

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