Berkman in the News
“The actions of world governments to buy these things has made it more likely that hackers will sell vulnerabilities and we will all remain vulnerable,” said Bruce Schneier, a fellow at Harvard Law School’s Berkman Center for Internet and Society.
Discovering such weaknesses isn’t easy, even for companies that design software. That’s largely because “when computer science majors in schools are taught code, they are not taught about security vulnerabilities,” said Lillian Ablon, who co-authored the Rand study.
Until that changes, many experts believe, hiring hackers to find the flaws makes sense.
Still, I’m unsure how much I think keepsake passwords actually reveal about a person. Does being secret make something truer or more candid? “Creating them is like a game of word association — with no starting word,” Jonathan Zittrain, a law professor at Harvard who studies the Internet, told me. Helen Petrie, a British psychologist and professor of human/computer interaction at City University in London, described passwords as “a 21st-century Rorschach inkblot test.”
This in turn increases the risk from another area barely known about in the Cold War — cyber-attacks, said Camille M. Francois, an expert in the field at Harvard Law School’s Berkman Center for Internet and Society.
With their high level of automation, “nuclear assets are by their nature extremely vulnerable to cyber-attack,” Francois said.
And in addition, she told AFP, policymakers still have something of a “1980s mentality”, focusing on the idea of a lone hacker — like in the 1983 movie “WarGames” — and believing that cyber-attacks can only come via the Internet.
She points to a New York Times article last year that indicated 49 per cent of the hyperlinks in U.S. Supreme Court decisions no longer work. Jonathan Zittrain, who teaches law and computer science at Harvard, said 75 per cent of links in the Harvard Law Review since 1999 no longer function.“Why is that important? When they are in court decisions or when offered by attorneys and these links disappear it has severe consequences to transparency and access and reliability,” says Eltis.Part of Eltis’ research looks at the issue of when transparency online is not properly thought out you can end up with significant unwanted consequences and create access to justice issues.
Anonymity also allows Internet users to engage in interactions that mirror those in the real world. “Online, using pseudonyms is actually more like our ordinary face-to-face experience,” Judith S. Donath, a fellow at the Berkman Center for Internet and Society at Harvard, wrote in Wired. “Face to face, we develop relationships in separate contexts — and the things we talk about, the jokes we make, the secrets we reveal — vary tremendously.”
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Human and technical factors that could lead to detonation of nuclear weapons varies from human error, negligence, miscalculation, miscommunication, technical faults, risk calculation, vulnerability to cyber security.
“By nature, nuclear assets were extremely vulnerable to cyber attacks,” Camille Francois from Harvard Law School Berkman Center for Internet and Society said, adding that this is due to their strategic importance.
The event was capped off with a talk by security expert Bruce Schneier, a fellow at the Berkman Center for Internet and Society at Harvard, and the chief technology officer at Co3 Systems.Schneier noted three trends he’s currently tracking. First, he said, we are losing control of our IT infrastructure. Second, cyber attacks are becoming more sophisticated. And third, he found that the increasing involvement of governments in cyberspace is blurring the lines between public and private data.“It used to be that our data was on our computers, under our control,” Schneier said. “But that is no longer true; our data is now on networks being run by Apple, Google, Amazon, Facebook, etc.” Schneier said this lack of control, which also extends to our devices, has great security implications.
Jonathan Zittrain, law professor and co-founder of Harvard’s Berkman Center for Internet and Society, talks about body-worn cameras and how technology might change the relationship between police officers and communities.
Some scholars said the program could spark a new paradigm in higher-education as schools figure out how to incorporate the Internet into the classroom.
“A shared course allows for interactions not possible within a single physical classroom…cultivating a healthy diversity of viewpoints,” said Jonathan Zittrain, a Harvard Law School professor who co-founded the school’s Berkman Center for Internet & Society.