This episode is sponsored by Dashlane Every time somebody discovers something new and wondrous, someone else finds a way to
use it to attack or exploit others. Fortunately, other folks find ways to foil
those attacks… eventually. So today we’ll be looking at Cybersecurity,
the basic concepts and current challenges, and some of the challenges we’ll face further
down the road. One of the biggest challenges right now with
cybersecurity isn’t that we don’t have a lot of the tools, but that most folks don’t
actually know they exist or what the threats look like. As is often the case with any field, especially
science and technology, there’s a lot of specialized terminology that develops that
can add a certain layer of the arcane when folks outside the field try to understand
it so we’ll spend some time today discussing some of the terms and giving some plain English
explanations and analogies. Now sometimes techno-speak is unavoidable
as you have a concept that doesn’t really exist outside a field or using an existing
parallel term might cause confusion. However, often it is an example of what Mark
Twain’s criticisms of using five dollar words when fifty cent ones will do, and I
try to avoid doing that on this show, unless the fifty cent word has the letter R in it. A silver lining of having a speech impediment,
it’s already so hard for folks to understand what you’re saying that you have little
temptation to use obscure language to worsen the situation. On the other hand I suspect it makes me prone
to giving longer and more detailed explanations of things, explaining why our episodes here
are often rather long, and why you probably want to get a drink and snack before settling
in to watch one. I’ve generally been involved in technology
my whole life but took a more detailed interest in cybersecurity recently in a rather involuntary
fashion, as I suspect is true of a lot of folks. Something happened and suddenly you need to
know and are confronted by lots of complex new ideas and terms. That might have been getting your account
somewhere hacked or your company feeling it needed to add new security protocols and of
course those are useless if everyone doesn’t know what they are and how to use them quickly
and easily. No security is ever airtight but no security
is ever even useful if it takes so much training to use and effort to employ on a day to day
basis that it’s impractical. Like having 40 locks on your front door, you
spend so much time unlocking them that you don’t have anytime to use your home. In my own case it was the 2016 US Elections,
though it’s been a growing concern in managing elections for a while now, and it seemed appropriate
to do this episode in an election week. For those who didn’t know, one of my other
hats outside this channel is overseeing elections for my area, and obviously there were concerns
about election security and also concerns about those concerns so we’ve had to spend
a lot of time working with Department of Homeland Security, the FBI, the Secretary of State,
and various other public and private groups upgrading and improving both electronic and
physical security. There’s an awful lot of overlap between
those two incidentally, and since we tend to be more familiar with physical security
I’ll often use those for our analogies to cybersecurity, and we might as well start
with Multi-Factor Authentication, or MFA. Now you’ve probably heard this term, though
we often refer to just Two-Factor Authentication, the simplest kind, which would be where you
need more than one thing to gain access to something, like your computer. Emphasis on more than one thing, because having
two locks on your door is not an example of Multi-Factor Authentication, that’s the
same factor, you’ve just got two of them. Two is better than one to be sure, but often
not by much, if someone can pick door locks they can pick two of them, if a pickpocket
steals your keychain they’ve got both keys. We usually consider there to be three types
of factors, Knowledge, Possession, and Inherence, and multi-factor would use multiple of those,
rather than multiple of the same kind, with two-factor using two kinds. Knowledge is something only you know, you
password or pin code or where you store your spare keys, again it’s something you know. Possession would be something only you have
access to, which would be your keys or your bankcard or an ID bracelet or token, something
you have or possess. Inherence is something inherent to you, like
your appearance or fingerprint or retinal scan or unique voice characteristics. Your signature is an old school example, though
for something like a numbered bank account, one where the account is anonymous of name
and just has a number, they might have someone write down that number or some word so they
could identify the handwriting as matching, like a signature. Needless to say, you can have some overlap,
a photo ID is arguably a possession, but it’s your unique face, an inherent factor, that
is critical, though you might put a photo on a credit card or security badge which also
has a pin number only you know. Now to use that someone needs all three factors,
knowledge of the pin code, possession of the card, and the inherence of your face. That would be three-factor authentication,
same if the photo was absent but used your signature instead. A classic credit card you just need to swipe
and sign for it is two-factor authentication, possession of the card plus inherence of your
signature, a debit card where you enter the pin is also two factor, again possession of
the card plus knowledge of the pin code. Alternatively, if you just have to enter the
card number, something you know, and a pin, something you also know, that is single-factor,
just multiple instances of that factor, like having two keys. Incidentally, having two people each with
a key to a different lock, or each with a different pin code, both of which must be
used in tandem, is called the ‘two-man rule’, and represents a different kind of security,
since its security focused on making sure an authorized user isn’t misusing whatever
is locked up by requiring two authorized users to be present. We use those on nuclear weapons, many bank
vaults, and at my office for handling ballots and other critical election materials. Another critical concept of security, since
often you’re just as worried about inside jobs as outside ones. In a more modern context, your smart phone
will usually have an option for a pin code, something you know, and a fingerprint scanner
or face or retina scanner, things which are inherent, and of course you have to possess
the phone to use it. That gives you the option for all three factors,
but in practice you’d enable it so you only needed two, since its rather inconvenient
to punch in a pin code with one hand while scanning the other when you just want to reply
to a text message. Convenience matters for security, both to
be able to use the thing effectively and to prevent convenience-based security holes,
like giving people really bizarre computer passwords they feel obliged to write down
on a 3M post it and stick in their desk, ensuring that a hacker really only needs to hunt around
for a piece of paper with gibberish written on it, and usually not hunt much, since it’s
probably stuck to their monitor. Physical security is a major part of cybersecurity,
since someone can break into your office to see that password, but they don’t necessarily
need to, since folks often take selfies at work with their gibberish-password cheatsheet
in plain view in the photo. Note of course that all of these can be broken
and there are various levels of security, this is just the types, same as a cheap small
lock on a desk drawer can be easily broken compared to a giant bank vault door, even
though both are physical locks and barriers. The general notion is that there’s an effort
required to break a given type of factor and that’s usually harder to do for two factors
than for two instances of the same factor. Again, a lockpicker can pick two locks without
much additional effort, training or steps in their plan, compared to someone who needs
to know how to pick a lock and sit somewhere nearby with binoculars waiting to see you
punch in your door’s PIN code. Extra instances of the same type can be very
handy, two locks on a door means more time unlocking them and risking being caught. Having a lock on your front door and on your
office door also adds that time element and surprise since a thief or hacker might not
know of that second lock, but they still have the skillset and tools to break it since they
broke the first, so you are either using a very different type of lock or factor, which
they might not be practiced in foiling, or use a different factor, like a fingerprint
scanner. It’s hard to be an expert at everything,
and using a team of experts, especially for something criminal, exposes them to vastly
higher odds of something going wrong, even if just because the more people who know of
a secret, or secret plan, the more likely that secret gets out or exposed. There’s pretty much always going to be a
trick to foil any specific type of an authentication factor, but usually a lot of effort or precision
is involved, and skills or circumstances needed, so multiple factors, even simpler ones, are
often handy. An example of that might be a brute-force
attack. In physical security terms, that would be
kicking in someone’s door or trying every combination on their bike lock rather than
stealing the key, picking the lock, or tricking someone into giving it to you, a cybersecurity
equivalent of which is called phishing and which we’ll come back to. In encryption terms it’s busting through
a password or PIN code by trying every single option until you get the right one. A 4 digit PIN code has 10,000 possible combinations,
and someone would need to try every single one by hand which takes a lot of time. We can further mess with that by limiting
it to so many tries, usually three, before the system locks out for a set period of time. We can toss in duress codes, something someone
could punch in to access the system while at gunpoint while alerting authorities, but
which a random attempt at hacking is just as likely to trigger as the right code, or
more likely if you have several. On the flip side, someone can guess which
4 digits are used by looking at which buttons are worn down or have fingerprint smears on
them, and so instead of having 10^4 combinations, 10,000, they only have to guess from 4^4 combinations,
a mere 256. Still not great odds, three tries on 256 options,
or 1.1%. Though if you’re a random thief walking
through a bunch of PIN coded storage lockers, and there’s hundreds of them, you are going
to get in one. When we’re talking about analogies in cybersecurity,
a lot of times those are great odds because if you had a list of millions of bank account
numbers and a computer doing the random guessing, you don’t really care if you screw up 99%
of the time, or even 99.99% of the time, since even in that case you gained access to a hundred
bank accounts. You can of course fight a brute force attack
by adding more digits, but you can also do it by adding more characters, hence all those
password rules about using a mix of capital and lowercase letters and numbers and special
characters like an exclamation point. Someone wanting to brute force a six-digit
pin code has a million options instead of 10,000 with four-digits, but a Letter only
4-digit code has 26 lower and 26 upper case options for each digit, 52, so 4 of those
is 52^4 is 7,311,616, more than 7 times the amount the six digit PIN had, and 731 times
what the 4-digit had. It’s even more if we add in numbers 0 to
9, 62, and a 62-character, six digit code, which is considered weak, has 57 billion options. Incidentally meaning if it took you about
3 seconds to manually enter each one, you would get 10 million done in a year without
rest or sleep, and while on average you’d get the right combo halfway through, they
might need potentially 5700 years to crack it, around as long as we’ve had letter and
numbers. Needless to say, it’s weak against a computer
doing it, and they can potentially get around a feature limiting your tries, like that three
strike rule, by making a copy of the system and hacking that, failing, making another,
and trying again, and again, and again. The other way around that is being clever,
since by default most people will have used an entirely lower case password, and probably
an actual word, so it will try all those first. Smart folks would use more complex ones but
sites force people to because they look bad if they get hacked regardless of who screwed
up the security. Of course, you need a password reset mechanism
as well, and those can be backdoors to hacking, and also hacking a database containing millions
of passwords and selling those on the Dark Web is common, as well. You’ve also got the backdoor of malware
someone downloads and doesn’t have to hack your password, it just has to record what
you type and transmit that. Moreover, if you’ve got 10 authorized users
on your system, you don’t really care who screwed up using a weak password, just that
some hacker got in and changed all the passwords and sends you a ransom demand. Any authorized account, even a low-privilege
one, is better than nothing for a hacker as it offers a larger attack surface, more directions
or vectors to strike from to find a weakness. This same approach gets used in social media
too, target a weakly secured user, hack them, and send an innocuous file to their friends
containing malware. That’s also a good reason to do backups
that aren’t connected to a network, since it means that while they can still threaten
you with exposure of private data, they lose the ability to threaten you with deletion
of data, and that’s a very common security measure of municipal governments who aren’t
keeping anything ultra-private, but need that data, like phone numbers and addresses of
their citizens, so they can respond to emergency calls. Quick note though, no password is any good
if people forget it, and while a hacker can’t usually sneak into someone’s office to see
where they wrote down their random gibberish password, it is often recommended you just
use something long but easy to remember, instead of short random gibberish, like the names
of all four of your grandparents capitalizing the first letter of each name, and picking
a random special character to act as your space, though don’t use the space bar as
it’s the most common special character used in passwords, followed by an exclamation point. Brute force is rarely entirely random and
tries the obvious stuff first, same as if you had a nine-digit PIN code on devices they’d
try your social security number out first, since it has 9 numbers and everyone memorizes
theirs. Length has a value all its own though, and
10 random but hard to remember special characters is more of a pain to use than typing out a
set sentence that is twice as long, especially if you’re interrupting the letters with
some chosen special character. Before anyone writes me an angry note, no
you wouldn’t want to use your grandparents names in favor of some fairly obscure phrase
you can easily remember, but it’s a good lead in to talk about data mining and phishing. It’s pretty common for password resets to
require answering security questions like where were you born, what your pet’s name
is, and where you went to school. Go on someone’s facebook page and you can
probably see where they were born, went to school, and a bunch of photos with their pet
and comments about how much they love their cat Mittens. And remember our early remarks about trying
random PIN-coded storage lockers or bank accounts, most hackers looking to make money do not
care who they are making it off of, they go for low hanging fruit and raw quantity and
they can write code to go harvest thousands of random accounts for such data. They also don’t need to bust through all
the extra measures of more secure places like a bank, because most folks use the same username
and password everywhere and hacking the database of user accounts and passwords at some website
forum for gardening enthusiasts probably got you a ton of those, and if you are using some
gibberish password for everything because its more secure and you just memorized that
one gibberish sequence to use everywhere, you are liable to get hacked, that’s why
it’s a big deal when some big website gets its username and passwords stolen even though
there’s nothing on there financial, just a bunch of dating profiles, which also probably
contain you talking about where you were born, went to school, and how much you love your
cat Mittens. It’s probably a silver lining against hacking
that people lie on their dating profiles so much. Of course you can protect yourself against
random folks looking at your facebook profile to harvest your data by making your profile
private, but many folks are prone to accepting friend requests from random strangers, which
can easily be someone wanting such info, and takes us to phishing. Now phishing itself is more active, and is
an attempt to gain sensitive information by disguising yourself as someone trustworthy
or innocuous, and comes in a lot of forms but there’s some major types which we’ll
detail in a moment. This is generally going to involve bait. For instance, I might run a sweepstakes where
the winner got $100,000 dollars, but to enter you had make a free account, and enter your
name and address and phone number and bank account & routing number so they could send
you the money if you won. They might even give an apparent ulterior
motive to allay suspicions like saying how you had to sign up for their newsletter, so
it looks like a tricky but mundane attempt at marketing. Odds are pretty good a ton of folks will use
the same username and password they use for everything and if we’re going to be cynical
but realistic here, it’s probably disproportionately likely someone lured by apparently free money
also isn’t practicing good password hygiene either. Other methods would be something like buying
the domain name for something trusted, or rather something real close and legit sounding,
like and sending folks urgent messages like “We are worried your
account may have been hacked, please click this link to reset your password.” You click that link in a hurry, get there,
and enter your username and password, and the fake site logs in for you on the real
site, and orders some stuff. Pretending to be tech support is pretty common,
the physical equivalent of sneaking into a place by pretending to be a repairman. Also, targeting older folks way less familiar
with modern technology is common, and using any sort of bait that is both urgent and likely
to distract and upset the target, akin to calling someone on the phone at 3 AM and telling
them their grandkid is in the hospital, as a way of grabbing important information or
breaking into their home while they rush out. There’s also physical methods too, besides
just lock-picking you’ve also got dumpster diving, regularly employed by both law enforcement,
white-hat hackers, and criminal, black-hat hackers. The former also generally has access to way
more personal information on you, though the amount of personal info available online about
most people is often rather shocking. Either sort, white or black hat, can apply
infiltration or coercion methods though these would generally look different, but an example
of infiltration would be a room only a few folks were authorized to enter, plus the cleaning
service. Good example of future threats too, a company
might replace their janitors with robots and someone might hack those robots or sneak a
camera in on them. Needless to say this is why multi-factor authentication
is handy and why sites like to send you a security code on your phone if they see you
logging in from a different IP address than normal. It’s not foolproof, nothing is, but it protects
you and more to the point, scammers usually don’t care who they rip off so they go for
the easy targets. Though, if almost everyone is using good security,
it’s hard to find any easy targets. Scammers can’t make money that way anymore. Of course sometimes they do care who their
target is. Spear-phishing is an example of when an individual
or individuals are being personally targeted, like trying to hack employees of a company
because they might use the same password there as for all their personal stuff. Whaling is a sub-type where you go after a
big target, like the CEO or director specifically. Frequently these won’t be aiming for direct
monetary gain either so could be less obvious, in the case of politically motivated hackers. Obviously we can’t get through all the terms
today, and I still want to get to the further in the future concerns, so we focused on the
major ones, and the general idea that most of these do have mundane examples or parallels
and you can find more plain English explanations. I’d also really suggest folks in IT, of
which we have plenty here in the audience I imagine, work hard to try to go for those
simple explanations and analogies to layman, the other half of knowing any field is knowing
how to explain it, and you’ll have a lot less running around to do if everyone in your
office isn’t mystified by this stuff. Another thing to emphasize is that, as is
often the case with technological concepts we look at here, Hollywood and TV is not a
great source of info, nor are panic inducing articles on the web. A lot of folks don’t get knowledgeable about
employing even basic security because they figure some hacker can get them if they want
to bad enough, and that’s arguably true, but it’s like not locking your front door
on the premise that someone can always stick a gun to your head and make you open it. You generally can’t just sit down at a computer
and whack a few keys and get into system like in TV show, or guess the password as a pet’s
name or birthday, especially if they’ve put even a tiny variation into that, as it
explodes the possible options. Like all security, more is better and nothing
is perfect, you just want to aim to be too much effort to be worth attacking. Going back to multi-factor authentication,
knowledge, possession, and inherence, something you know, something you have, and something
you are, any security option that requires a possession as a factor, something you have,
makes it real hard to do remote hacking even on a real simple password, something you know,
because they need both. On the flip side, losing or damaging a possession
can permanently lock you out of your own accounts, similar to losing the keys to your car and
being unable to get a key copy made. Having backup copies of that key exposes you
to an additional security risk too. That’s also why biometrics or implanted
chips, barcode tattoos, or tamper-proof data bracelets are handy, you can’t lose them,
and we’re likely to see those get more common. Of course one has to worry about a hacker
getting rather literal and lopping something off or out of your body, but you are already
subject to physical coercion as a security workaround anyway, like getting mugged at
an ATM, and again you would want more than one factor, thumbprint or biochip plus a PIN
Code, for instance. So even some amazing quantum computer that
can hack any code, which gets rather exaggerated, see the quantum computers episode for details,
can’t get someone into something if it also requires a possession like a thumb drive with
a long encryption key on it that has to be plugged in. It’s like the AI boogeyman of some computer
intelligence that can’t be kept chained up and can get through every firewall. We also have air walls, or air gaps, computers
that aren’t on a network and which you have to physically go plug something into to access,
it doesn’t matter how smart the AI is, if it’s stuck in such a thing, it isn’t hacking
its way out. Though it might employ trickery of other types,
and that’s how a lot of modern hacking works, not by random brute force but by getting people
to give up critical information, which is again why you don’t limit your security
to just something you know. Now for something you are, inherence factors,
like your fingerprint or face or voice or retina, those can be mimicked, especially
if the scanner has a low resolution or margin for error to be used effectively. You don’t have to chop off someone’s finger
or gouge out an eyeball, just lift it off anything they touched or from a photo, which
is preferable anyway since you generally prefer nobody knows you even got into a system. Mimicking such things is hardly easy, especially
since they would tend to require specialized equipment with long supply chains that can
be secured themselves, you probably would have a hard time getting a finger-duplicator
that scans a fingerprint and mimics it at really high resolution and potentially the
right temperature. Public sale of such a thing would probably
be illegal and the devices secured, and it might be unrealistic to think a black market
could have a big supply, since complex manufacturing chains are hard to replicate in some basement. But we can’t rule such things out, especially
in a world of ever-improving 3D printers. Show me a biometric signature and we can figure
out a way to grab it rather covertly and mimic it, though constant improvements in their
resolution making it harder to mimic might minimize that or even make it impractical. So what are some alternatives? A couple weeks back we were discussing mind-machine
interfaces, MMIs, reading brain waves non-invasively or actually plugging wires into someone’s
head. Of course a big concern for that is getting
hacked, and while fiction covering that is usually rather vague about how you’d actually
do that, it is presumably possible. Though I’d imagine a lot of the same security
measures we already discussed could apply there too. It also offers a great option for biometrics,
namely your brain waves, which generally do not stick to every object you touch like your
fingerprint does and are likely to be harder to get and mimic than things outwardly visible. What’s more, MMI offers us an option for
rapid and easy use of one of the best cryptography methods, namely the one-time pad, as a good
neural interface with storage could keep long one-time pads on it and usable in an instant. A one time pad is a very long encryption key
that is used only once to encode and then decode it using a copy of the pad at the destination. One-time pads are usually called perfect ciphers,
as they just don’t offer any route to decrypt them even with infinite processing power available
if you don’t have that key. It’s effectively like the Library of Babel
we discussed in the episode “Things which will never exist”, it’s just random gibberish
and so you can decode it, but literally into any possible text combination of that length. An infinite number of monkeys on keyboards
will eventually type out a copy of Shakespeare, but they’ll also type out tons of gibberish
and every other book too, and that’s what your effectively decrypting with a one-time
pad, everything, and you’d have no idea which copy was right, hence nothing for a
quantum computer to solve for either. The problem is, your one time pad has to be
as long as your message and you need a copy at origin and destination, so they’re quite
a pain to use, and are vulnerable if the one-time pad was not generated truly randomly, which
is a lot harder than it sounds. Assuming you do, a one-time pad is unhackable
unless you have that pad, period, even against quantum cryptography. Though again, so long as that pad is genuinely
random, which quantum key generation should permit, basically the same tech that permits
quantum computers to hack encryption also offers a method for generating truly random
one time pads immune to such hacking. That will be very important to any interplanetary
or interstellar civilization since if they want to move data at light speed, not on hard
drives on some ship, they have to transmit it, and even lasers spread out over distance,
so trying to keep someone from getting a little eavesdropper in along the transmission path
over vast gulfs of space is probably not too practical. Though Quantum encryption might let us get
around this as you destroy the message and alert the recipient if you eavesdrop on it,
though this brings up its own problems. As an example, a message no one can crack
is great, but if your transmission is easily interrupted so you can’t get it either,
your secrets are safe but your ability to communicate is disrupted. Another reminder that too much security can
be an issue too, public wifi for instance is an invaluable boon nowadays as it allows
folks to do business on high-bandwidth while mobile, but comes with heightened security
issues as it leaves you vulnerable to Man in the Middle, or MITM attacks, since anyone
whose hacked that wifi spot or put up a fake one can copy or alter the data you’re sending. Getting back to MMI, if you’ve got a little
chip in your brain with a trillion random digits on it, matched to another such unique
pad elsewhere, that is not getting hacked while that data is in transit. Data in transit by the way is the term for
when data is moving from one place to another, and it’s direct analogy would be an armored
car carrying cash from a store’s money safe to a bank vault. A great password and physical security system
at home and the office doesn’t help much if you carry your personal files around unencrypted
on a thumbdrive or on your phone and you shut off the security features because they make
it a pain to text while driving. A lot of cloud computing encrypts the data
in transit but not at the end points, though they might encrypt it on their servers or
you could send it already encrypted so what arrived was. That obviously doesn’t help much if you
remotely access everything on all your devices and someone just has to steal your phone,
but anybody providing you cloud storage can’t really help that you leave your stuff logged
in and unsecured. They might encrypt on their side too, but
of course they have the key for their own encryption so there’s a trust factor there
and of course even if they’re trustworthy, a given employee might not be, or might be
coerced into giving that key up. That’s obviously a big concern in any sort
of probably-not-too-distant future where folks might keep backup copies of their brain digitally
stored somewhere. Someone grabs a copy of that and now they
have your brain, and can copy it. The counter to something like that would be
encryption before transmitting where the key is stored elsewhere, and again that might
be some incredibly long one-time pad. Needless to say, while we normally only think
of having two copies of a one-time pad, as it minimizes security risks, you can have
more, so if you’re storing the lone copy of someone’s brain encrypted via a one-time
pad, you might have that pad stored elsewhere and possibly a few elsewhere in case it gets
corrupted or blown up. That pad still has to be made somewhere, along
with at least one other copy, and moved to a destination, though Quantum Key Distribution
might get around that, still two places that need to talk a lot can generate really long
one time pads or many of them and use them till they run out and just ship others in
to be used at agreed upon times. So this allows secure light speed communication
and there’s probably nothing stopping you from sending pads of quintillions of bits
along with your initial colony ship and occasional new ones to replace used up ones or to prevent
long silences while you ship out new ones if the ones there get seized or destroyed. And the vulnerability of such things is the
same as any authentication factor of the possession type, someone can steal it, once again why
multi-factor authentication is good and why physical security is a very real and necessary
component of cybersecurity. So the bad news is that cybersecurity is here
to stay and you really do need to get yourself acquainted with it and practice it properly. The good news is that it’s not some arcane
process you need to be an expert at in order to be secure yourself, and I hope we’ve
demystified it a bit today. Obviously we couldn’t cover everything,
even for the basics, but our goal was as much to make it clear that it doesn’t have to
be a scary boogeyman requiring years of education to understand as to explain it all. Important things to do, to be pretty secure
pretty fast, is to enable two-factor or multi-factor authentication wherever that’s an option,
always eyeball any email with attachments or asking for information to see if the address
is really coming from a trusted source or just something that looks like it, and to
avoid using identical passwords everywhere. You can do that last all on your own, but
there are tools that help, and one of those is Dashlane. It’s a password manager and one that can
not only save all your passwords but can rapidly generate long secure passwords for you too,
and even be set to automatically change them periodically. You have a master password that’s never
transmitted over the internet, not even to Dashlane, but it can still transmit all those
passwords encrypted to your other devices you’ve installed it on, so you have access
there, so long as you don’t lose your master password, as again they don’t keep a copy,
but since it’s only on those devices you installed it on, nobody can hack it from afar
and you can keep it simpler if you like. That means if Dashlane gets hacked, all they
would get is bundles of encrypted data that wouldn’t mean anything without the unique
master password… for each and every individual Dashlane user – by the way, that’s over
13 million users, meaning 13 million unique master passwords — this is not worth a hacker’s
time. Though Dashlane does have the option for Two-Factor
Authentication, if you want some extra security on your mobile devices. Dashlane also provides easy to use and secure
autofill options so you can keep all your addresses, phone numbers, credit card numbers
and personal data there to autofill on forms and has a built in VPN, Virtual Private Network,
so you can surf the net securely even on public wifi systems. They also provide Dark Web Monitoring, to
warn you if any of the places you have accounts have been hacked and the data sold on the
Dark Web. That’s Password manager, VPN, and Dark Web
monitoring, and they do all that for less than what just one of those services usually
costs. If you’d like to give Dashlane a try, use
the link in the video description,, and get a free 30-day trial of Dashlane Premium,
and you can also use the coupon code “IsaacArthur” to get 10% off if you decide you like it. Today we focused mostly on the near term practical
future, so next week we’ll jump back to the far future and look at Spaceship Design,
and the ships we’ll need to get out and colonize the galaxy. The week after that, it’s back to the Fermi
Paradox Great Filters series to look at what barriers, like Interstellar travel or self-destruction,
might keep us or other civilizations who’ve reached our technological state from colonizing
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have a Great and Secure Week!

100 thoughts on “Cybersecurity

  1. Oh great its arthursday today, wait I have to run and buy some cola and oreos- And here is the warning -3 packs of oreos will give you a bad stomach.

  2. Passwords are a complete joke. No matter how ridiculously complex they are people are going to find a way to simplify them. Everyone I know just uses patterns on the keyboard, and when their pw expires, they change one digit. Shift 1 down 1 down x2 is the most complex pw in the universe to a computer, but it makes me giggle, because every IT pro I know uses that or a variant of it.

  3. Actually requiring upper and lower case does not increase security as much as it appears since in reality it only adds one bit per character not 26 new unique characters. So an 8 character password only increases the number of combinations by 256. It also increases the difficulty of remembering it out of proportion to the increase in difficulty. It is actually better to simply require longer passwords. Simply adding 2 characters to the password length increases complexity far more than using the same length password but requiring upper and lower case. It also is easier to remember. Upper case requirements typically lead people to use shorter passwords resulting in less security.

  4. Thank you for covering Cyber Security! Not enough people understand it or how to defend themselves. Anything we can do to close the gap of understanding is a huge bonus.

  5. That speech impediment is akin to a non-rhotic southern accent or Boston accent. And by the way, don't worry, I've got a non-rhotic southern accent and a little impediment too. My impediment causes involuntary drawing out of certain sounds.

  6. A great video, but I think it missed one of the most fool-proof security measures for keeping hackers from taking money out of your account.

    Just don't have any money to start with.

  7. Hello Isaac, thanks for another great episode, and now, if you will allow, for something completely different.
    I've been discussing with some people on the LabPadre Discord, the questions posed below and hope that you will find the time to weigh in in your typical pithy style;

    What do you think about the giant window array shown in SpaceX renders near the nose of Starship? To me this is clearly far more complex, heavy, vulnerable to failure, subject to undesirable thermal and optical excursions and far more costly than a mostly continuous steel hull.

    I understand the psycological and aesthetic reasons for real windows, but the engineering and economic tradeoffs would seem to argue for using some form of internal display (projetors, screens, head mounted displays, etc) in place of spaceworthy windows, to give passengers the impression of seeing outside without poking a giant hole in the hull to accomodate the large panoramic forward window panels.

    In Mars transit, I believe there are technical means other than windows that could be devised to provide a sufficiently immersive experience to at least equal that of widows, while also using fewer, more modestly sized transparent windows for direct passive observation where necessary or desirable to minimize costs and risks while serving the needs of the passengers for a sense of connection to space. It is also true that such means could provide an immersive sense of connection to orher places as, such as locales on Earth or Mars or any place else with appropriately formatted video files. This would provide psycological benefits passive windows cannot.

    In LEO and Lunar excursion modes perhaps there are compelling economic and aesthetic arguments enough to outweigh the risks and costs of traditional spaceworthy windows.

    Anyway, I would appreciate hearing your thoughts on this. Will the giant window ever fly?

  8. I keep a dedicated ancient laptop with barebones light Linux locked away offline for banking. There is a scene rather like Monty Python's Holy Hand Grenade scene on the rare occasion it is brought out and connected to the internet.

  9. I work in cybersecurity and wish I could have vetted this, there's a couple of minor inaccuracies, but otherwise this episode could almost be used as a training device. Excellent work.

  10. I just like to say as somebody's who has been watching this show for years your speech has gotten noticeably better to the point where I barely notice it anymore

  11. My brother's car locks were broken by a criminal. It did not work, of course. Next morning he contacted me, being unable to get in. Twenty seconds later all doors and boot were open.

    Modern ones are indeed harder but if you have the equipment not impossible.

    A much better option is storing your password in a "locker" and using one secure password that you can remember to operate it.

    No lock is completely safe. Do not trust mail from anyone.

  12. What about some inherent flaws in current computing that allow vulnerability too? Some of the best AV software may not be enough if some malware still flashes an update to a co-processor system found in the hardware. Scan's after such an attack can't find the stuff resident in the firmware for a chipset as that is separate from the main RAM and also not on the HDD or SSD where most software and data is resident. Yet a cleverly designed attack utilizing a co-processor will also send calls from the co-processor that will hook into functions tied to the targeted OS and be able to do things scan for data, hamper AV or other scanning software, and pull in and load more malware elsewhere that may require more space than the initial attack vector.

    Only thing I could think of that would help prevent this is to have co-processor based hardware require a physical jumper to be set in order to do various updates. But it seems many devices still don't implement this kind of thing. So something like a popular networking or graphics card or a common chipset for similar functions could be a source of vulnerability if a hacker is clever enough to figure out how its architecture works.

  13. Solid intro to cybersecurity. One big thing you missed: the extreme majority of hacking is NOT targeted. Most hacking that happens is purely automated and seeking nothing but the simplest and fastest in-routes. Most hackers don't write code but use readily-available tools to automate the process. Targeted hacking does exist but is generally limited to valuable targets (or targets with some other specific incentive). Even social engineering is mostly automated (spam email, auto-dialers/robocalls, "survey" websites/quizzes). Also, important to note that the weakest link in the security chain is almost always the human. Being vigilant and educated (as much as possible, anyway) is important. The human link in the chain also includes things like: using an anti-virus and keeping it up-to-date, making sure your software and operating system are as up-to-date as possible, and NEVER write down passwords. Something you have as a security factor is far less secure than something you know because something you have can always be stolen (and reading minds isn't really a thing…yet). As for services like Dashlane…it's better than nothing. I personally do not recommend putting all eggs in one basket like that (malware on your system would quickly own every single password, and you'd be powerless to stop them)…but I acknowledge it is simpler to setup and use such a service than to learn and use multiple services for different purposes. Right now, the biggest dawning security hole is: connected devices. Smart speakers, doorbells, fridges, etc. All connected to the internet, almost all without any security in place. Just remember that every convenient feature…is probably also an additional security hole.

  14. Monkeys cannot type Shakespeare. The time line would be so bogglingly immense as to be so close to impossible that describing it as impossible is entirely accurate.

  15. For passwords I tend to recommend three loosely related memorable words using the usual mixed case alphanumerics, and special characters. Having at least one word being non-dictionary makes a huge difference too.
    It doesn't take much to make a password extremely hard to crack as long as one avoids personal details or predictable sequences.

  16. You know, an idea occurs to me that would greatly increase cybersecurity, tripwire passwords. Have a password that unlocks the account, but also have a password that breaks the account. At least temporarily. Make an alternate password that quietly makes it so that no attempts will work for the next hour or something, and maybe that alerts a security office that X IP address is trying shenanigans. Make the tripwire password something that the intended user would obviously never type, but that a hacker might have access to or try. That way, there's little to no chance of this password being entered accidentally, but you cna give a decent chance that a hacker will try and use it. Like in your example of a visible post-it note in a selfie, that note can show the tripwire, if they even attempt it then it will screw up subsequent attempts, even if their next attempt is the correct password. Then, even if there are multiple potential passwords lying around, unless they pick the right one first, they will make it much harder to get in. This would even help with brute force attacks, by using relatively common passwords as tripwires, brute force attempts would constantly be invalidating the entire process without obvious sign that this is happening.

  17. This is why all my passwords are set to "Jesus_loves_you_and_he's_watching" that way the hackers have a real moral quandary.

  18. AI is good deciphering keystrokes audibly with minimal training.

    Cameras are easy to place in areas where codes or passwords are entered.

    And, of course, a uniform and an authoritative demeanor can go a long way as well.

  19. Isaac you don’t need to apologize for or work around your speech impediment. People can understand you just fine; especially regulars.

  20. Can I point out that the internet is creating a mindset of paranoia, people believe they are being monitored in a highly detailed, invasive and unstoppable way. Im not here to talk about what is or is not factual, I just mean in reference to how common it is to hear normal people express the feeling that the level to which their lives are being documented by unknown entities(government and private) are levels beyond what a rational, self aware, normal person should believe.

  21. I read that that advent of quantum computing is some day going to pose special problems for certain things that were deemed secure, like security keys, encryption, bitcoin, and long passwords.

  22. I used the password reset mechanism to hack someones account the other day….
    It's really easy when they use your email address to register.

  23. Elmer…thank you for the most hilarious YouTube videos!…crazy what a smart nerd that read way way too many science fiction books to make up for no social life during youth can do! Want to read a non fiction book? Killing the Planet: How a Financial Cartel Doomed Mankind, Paul Williams…put that into your futuristic BS and see the real future

  24. 15:48 "…and everyone memorizes theirs."
    Yup. I definitely memorized it. I definitely don't keep a cheat-sheet with my SSN on it in my wallet at all times because I can never remember. Nope. Definitely not. I memorized mine. Hahahahaha… *cold sweat

  25. Quantum computer could be an issue for encryption today… but with a minor update simple PC can create unbreakable password. Meaning quantum computer will have to work million years to hack it. It's uncomparable easier to encrypt password than to hack it.

  26. Brut Force: the stink of a cologne that clears an area around the user
    Fermi Paradox: The perplexity of an IA video straying far from the usual subject

    Crab phishing: Hacking to get connected with girls with genital parasites
    Brown hat: A computer expert with diarrhea who is forced to use his/her beanie as TP
    Implausible Deniability: That same expert hoping no one will notice

  27. I'm looking forward to the Lovecraft episode, where Isaac Arthur will probably talk about the evolutionary path for a demonic space octopus.

  28. Not quite the normal SFIA episode, but an informative one non the less. Learned more about this topic than I have before, well explained and entertaining as well. Only people like Isaac can pull that off.

  29. I sure most people here are atheists or agnostic but if it ever gets to the point where a government requires your to take an implant you should be careful. Let the anti God post fly

  30. Isaac, I've never had issue understanding you. Yes you have a speech impediment, but it doesn't make you understandable, just sound a little different.

    Just wanted to comment that in case you have some childhood trauma related to your different level of speaking ability…

  31. Your speech impediment has come on light years from the early days you should be proud….. I might be a geek or nerd or whatever the latest term is but this is still the best channel on YouTube just saying

  32. Just to correct some minor mistake, 1:18 it is 24 options if you know the 4 digits "used" in the pin pad but not know the order . The reason is that if you know 4 digits were punched, there are no repeats in the digits, otherwise 3 or less digits will appear smudged. Incidentally that is why pin pad only electronic bank cashiers are so insecure.

  33. I'm glad you touched on it briefly as denial of service is a very real attack objective in it's own right, sometimes you don't want or even need control of the system yourself you simply don't want the adversary to have access to it. Whether that be for economic warfare to hurt or gain leverage against a competitor, or for example in actual warfare to blind the enemy by denying them access to an intelligence gathering asset just shutting down communication with it is sufficient. I can't help but think this sort of quantum cryptography would be a massive vulnerability on something like a deep space surveillance station or similar anyone with a brain looking to attack you would exploit this to deny you detailed information on the impending attack for as long as possible.

  34. Eenie§Meenie§Miney§Mo is a very bad password. Just use normal language; "My latest porter brew tastes fantastic" is a great password. "I really have to clean my guitar soon" is also a great password. I often use passwords in order to remember things, because 1) it makes them easy to remember and 2) it incentivizes me to replace my password often. Using normal language means your fingers are better trained, so you type them faster, without having to think much and makes it more difficult for an attacker to recognize it as a passphrase, even using a keylogger. In some cases, it's useful to be able to share a password over the phone. If someone on the bus hears you say «Please remember to feed the cat», they would need to be severely fucked up in order to immediately see it as an attack vector.

  35. What if dark matter is aliens and we can't talk to them until we learn to interact with DM? That would also explain the Fermi paradox. All the aliens already ascended.

  36. would there happen to be a list of all 'book of the month' anywhere? if not readily available, dont spend time on me, ill make do with a pen and paper and simply re-browse all videos again 😛

  37. Hark, Tis a invasion of foreign machine spirts. Call Brother Mathias to bring the incense and holy oils while I retrieve the needed prayer scripts .

  38. Of course, if pilot waves are a thing, quantum events may not be truly random, so one-time pads may be impractical. And we won't know if one-time pads are truly unbreakable until we know all of physics, albeit something that could break one would (to us) appear supernatural.

  39. But will aliens have good firewalls?? 🙂
    Independence Day ones didn't have cybersecurity at all!
    But they were telepathic, they all trusted one another and never needed to invent viruses or hacking I guess..

  40. 31:00 "…and you shut off the security features because they makes it a pain to text while driving."
    Do you need some cream for that epic burn?

  41. The problem with password managers is that all you are doing is setting up a single point of failure for allll your accounts. I know they're are going to have high security on this one single account to access all accounts, but that makes me nervous and is the reason I don't use a password manager. Besides chrome. But I only let it remember passwords I don't honestly care about.

  42. Your speech is just fine. You are clear and easy to understand. Your impediment is barely noticeable. Don't sweat it.

  43. Isaac I love ya and I always catch your SFIA monthlies. I dont know where the appropriate place to send this is, so please forgive me and Ill just post it here… this video is unedited of someone firing a potato cannon on a tractor… the question is, watch the smoke form a shape, that looks like an angel turning and flapping its wings to follow the tractor. where are you on videos like this showing beings like this? Is there an explanation or is this a careful hoax. sorry fairly new viral.

  44. Cyber security is an arms race: it's only going to get worse. The best cyber security is to be off the grid. Great job with the video, Isaac. This is what i do for a living, and you nailed it.

  45. Is there a mathematical proof, that there will always be an encryption that holds long enough? So that encryption is always be more complex then the brute force algorithm breaking it in lets say 1 year. Even though quantum computers exist.

  46. Keyed lock on outside and RFID hidden on the inside of the door. Thumprint ID needed after entering or alarm sounds.

  47. You talk about using brain waves as a security key… I don't think that would work as the brain is very 'plastic' and can have/make drastic changes over time.

  48. Mr. Aurther, you got it right. Except one thing. Most people do not care about cyber security. Until they get hacked. I have tried to help people. Most are lazy. I am talking about the basic stuff children can learn: password managers, multifactor, multiple instances, example.

    Using your body only to secure your tech is beyond stupid.

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