Catching KGB Hackers with 75¢ and a 2400 Baud Modem

June 4, 2022
Hosted by Rebecca Herold

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Guest Information

Episode Description

Nation state hackers have been trying to get into the secrets stored on computers for decades. The Russian KGB has been trying, and often succeeding, to hack into computer systems before there was a publicly accessible internet; back when the Arpanet was used primarily to connect university and government computer systems. Do you know who caught the KGB in the act of their hacking activities within these computer systems when no one else, not even the FBI or the military, was interested in finding a hacker that was getting into some of the Arpanet connected computers? Why, an astronomer, of course! Tune in to hear Dr. Clifford Stoll describe in great detail how he caught the KGB hackers, without the use of network security tools (what has been used during the past thirty years didn’t exist back then!), using his brilliance and other tools available to him at the time, such as dial-up phone line modems and reams of paper printouts. Through his perseverance and patience, he was able to catch the hackers. Dr. Stoll wrote the book, The Cuckoo's Egg: Tracking a Spy Through the Maze of Computer Espionage, in 1989 which provides his first-person account of his hackers-catching odyssey. A 1990 PBS documentary, “The KGB, the Computer, and Me,” provided additional information. In this episode we cover additional facts about the hack, that include more discussion of the technical and security perspectives, still applicable, and some of the specific work that Dr. Stoll did during his tracking of the wily hackers, that actually seem to have inspired some of the tools commonly used by cybersecurity pros today…that they probably don’t even realize were first established by Clifford Stoll! We also hear Dr. Stoll’s thoughts about cybersecurity, education, technology, the importance of asking questions and curiosity, the polarimetry of Jupiter at large phase angles, Klein bottles, and much, much more. See more about Clifford Stoll at https://www.ted.com/speakers/clifford_stoll. See Dr. Stoll’s paper, “Polarimetry of Jupiter at Large Phase Angles” at https://repository.arizona.edu/bitstream/handle/10150/282394/azu_td_8020326_sip1_m.pdf?sequence=1&isAllowed=y #CliffordStoll #TheCuckoosEgg #KGB #Hacking #NationState #CyberEspionage #HoneyPots #DigitalSpying #RiskManagement #CyberCrime #CyberSecurity

Data Security and Privacy with the Privacy Professor

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There are more information security and privacy threats than ever before. As more technologies emerge, more surveillance tactics are used, and more artificial intelligence systems are deployed, cybersecurity and privacy risks grow exponentially. Rebecca has spent her entire career working to improve information security and privacy protections, by not only raising awareness of the issues within businesses and other types of organizations, but also by raising the awareness of these risks in the public and helping them to understand how to better protect their own personal data, allowing them to take their privacy protections into their own hands. Rebecca offers information about these existing and emerging security and privacy risks and provides fresh insights into the impacts of exploiting these risks, and gives guidance, tips, expert advice and news, with fascinating guests, to help all organizations, and the general public, understand what they need to do to mitigate these risks.

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Rebecca Herold

Rebecca Herold

Rebecca has 25-plus years of systems engineering, information security, privacy and compliance experience, is CEO of The Privacy Professor(R) consultancy she founded in 2004, and Co-Founder/CEO of Privacy Security Brainiacs online services, where Rebecca engineered the systems and created all the content, including automated risk assessments and training courses. Rebecca has authored 20 books, contributed to dozens of other books, and published hundreds of articles. Rebecca led the NIST Smart Grid Privacy Subgroup for 7 years, a member of the NIST Privacy Framework development team, and is a NIST Cybersecurity for IoT Program team member. Rebecca has provided expert witness services for HIPAA compliance, IoT security, privacy and location tracking, retirement community members’ personal data misuse, and other cases. Rebecca was co-founder and officer of the IEEE P1912 Privacy and Security Architecture for Consumer Wireless Devices Working Group, and is on numerous advisory boards. Rebecca was Adjunct Professor for the Norwich University MSISA program for 9 years. Rebecca has received numerous awards, including named as a Top 100 Women Fighting Cybercrime and a Cybersecurity Woman of the Year. Rebecca has provided keynotes on 5 continents and is frequently interviewed on TV and in international publications. Rebecca holds the following certifications: FIP, CDPSE, CISSP, CISA, CISM, CIPT, CIPM, CIPP/US, FLMI. Ponemon Privacy Fellow. Rebecca is based in Des Moines, Iowa, USA.

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