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Security researchers described the code used to attack the 2018 Pyeongchang winter Olympics as 'Frankenstein-like.' In part two of our video series, hacker:HUNTER Olympic Destroyer, they explain how the malware was designed to point in multiple directions.
Who would dare to hack the Olympics?
The designer of an extraordinary piece of code lodged it in a system where it remained undetected for months. Part two of hacker:HUNTER Olympic Destroyer explores the nature of the attack, its process and why 'Frankenstein-like' code made it one of the most mysterious advanced persistent threat (APT) attacks in history.
Olympic Destroyer was the perfect example of an APT. What are they, and why are they so harmful?
APTs attack over time
APTs are sophisticated hacks that often wait for the perfect time to strike to create maximum damage. They lodge themselves in a system and steal critical data over weeks, months or years. Those behind these attacks build complex software for intentional damage – from espionage and sabotage to data theft.
Highly organized groups use APTs
APTs are notoriously associated with highly organized groups. They attack high-status targets like countries or large corporations, notably in manufacturing and finance, aiming to compromise high-value information like intellectual property, military plans and sensitive user data.
Their high-profile targets will have secure networks and defenses, so threats must stay undetected as long as possible. The longer the attack goes on, the more time attackers have to map the system and plan to steal what they want.
Motives behind attacks vary, from harvesting intellectual property to gaining advantage in an industry, to stealing data for use in fraud. One thing is clear: APTs cause severe damage.
The ‘perfect’ APT
Olympic Destroyer was the perfect APT. A highly-organized group attacked a national Olympic committee, and it worked.
The 'confusion bomb' had been undetected in the computer system for four months, biding its time to strike. Being in the system gave them time to find weak spots and pain points to make the attack more devastating. When it finally surfaced, all hell broke loose.
Crippling the whole IT system
By directly attacking the Olympics' data centers in Seoul, South Korea, Olympic Destroyer cut employees' access to network computers. Because Wi-Fi was out, Olympic building security gates stopped working, coverage stopped, and the whole infrastructure went offline. The Pyeongchang IT team was staring down the barrel of a potential geopolitical disaster.
Stay tuned for episode three, where we unravel the IT team's ingenious response and find out who did it. Any guesses? Go to hacker:HUNTER to stay up to speed.
Because they know what they're talking about.
The prevailing wisdom is that the fast pace of automation, digital change and AI (artificial intelligence) will soon leave most of us jobless. Talking with some of the most successful tech entrepreneurs around the world, not one agreed with this dark premonition. Rather, they pointed to a different kind of future we should prepare for.
Breaking our addiction to devices and social media<p><a href="https://simby.com/" target="_blank">Simby</a> is a fully personalized, wearable AI technology that aims to break our addictions to our devices and social media while still giving us all the benefits of being digitally connected. Co-founder and head of product Andrew Doherty believes technology should benefit our lives and do no harm, and that users should have full control of their data. This 'sassy best friend' is still under development but coming soon.<strong></strong></p>
The buzz around Beep<p>Organizations can be as buggy as bad software, with minor frustrations putting a damper on everyone's concentration and creativity. Doing something about these problems can feel like swimming upstream, especially when management doesn't understand how much energy small annoyances suck out of their staff.</p><p>Katz Kiely is part of the team behind <a href="https://wearebeep.com/" target="_blank">Beep</a>, a system that rewards and recognizes people for raising problems and finding solutions in their business. It puts leaders in touch with their employees' real challenges, flattening the hierarchy and reconnecting people with meaning in their work.</p>
Growing a business like a garden<p>Author and tech entrepreneur Aaron Dignan knows exactly how hierarchy and bureaucracy hold back progress in business. He gleaned this wisdom from in-depth study of organizations known for adapting to change and getting fast results, like Spotify, Burning Man and Basecamp.</p><p>He's not only published these findings for the benefit of other entrepreneurs in his popular 2019 book <a href="https://www.amazon.co.uk/Brave-New-Work-Reinvent-Organization/dp/024136180X/" target="_blank">Brave new work: Are you ready to reinvent your organization</a>? He's also founder of <a href="https://theready.com/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">The Ready</a>: An 'operating system' that helps businesses change their culture and see themselves <a href="https://medium.com/the-ready/the-operating-system-canvas-420b8b4df062" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">more as a garden than a machine</a>.</p>
Smartening up the factory<p><a href="https://cloudnc.com/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">CloudNC</a> is bringing safety and accuracy to factories with AI and autonomous manufacturing. Their clients manufacture parts for air travel, space exploration and defense, among other industries, where perfection is necessary every time.</p><p>Full automation in manufacturing also allows for on-demand production. This option is in high demand since COVID-19 has made the global market and labor supply hard to predict. Co-founder Theo Saville says <a href="https://cloudnc.com/an-interview-with-theo-saville-forbes-europe-2019-manufacturing-industry/" target="_blank">making manufacturing more environmentally sustainable is also top of CloudNC's agenda</a>.</p>
Blockchain on the farm<p>Agriculture is one of the fastest-changing industries on the planet, while soil depletion, habitat loss and methane emissions come to the fore in the public consciousness. Farmers often face little choice in how they operate because they're time-poor, isolated and face high set-up costs for change.</p><p><a href="http://www.agriledger.io/home/" target="_blank">AgriLedger</a> Founder and CEO Genevieve Leveille wants farmers to get the best price for their hard work, giving them more choice and making sure doing better for people, animals and the environment pays dividends. Using blockchain, AgriLedger brings users benefits like supply chain traceability, market information and access to finance.</p>
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