Cyber sense – 2022 Reflections pt. 2

In Part 1 of our reflections post we discussed love scams and romance fraud, well fraud generally, including the fraudulent and the defrauded, big business and individuals. But there is more…

In 2022, we covered cyberwar, ethical hacking and cyber collectives, like Anonymous. In 2015 and 2017, Russia scaled their cyberattacks to outright acts of aggression, to destabilise Ukraine and takeover independent Ukrainian territories. Vladimir Putin didn’t get what he wanted and in opposition to Ukraine aligning and looking for membership with the UN, he had a full scale tantrum, that led to an all-out war between the two neighbouring countries. Anonymous, a group of global cyber hack-tivists took charge to fight Russia on their own terms. They weakened Russia’s defences by hacking government databases and energy suppliers, blocked websites and recruited and trained a worldwide, cyber-army ready for systemic, targeted attacks. A war like no other ever fought.

The lockdowns and homeschooling that were features of 2020 and 2021 has left school-age children and their families particularly vulnerable to fraud via Google classroom. It became obvious that schools did not have a plan for cybersecurity when signing up families to the network. One instance was when we learned that one teacher had the same password for a classroom that contained not only class names and homework but home addresses, email addresses and birthdates. No amount of sorry from the conglomerates, the educational institutions or individuals can make up for this level of negligence, that will have ripple effects for privacy of Australian families in the short and long term.

In February we started to worry, as a nation, about the probability of election interference, taking our lead from the US and Britain. We wrote that “public trust in government/s is paramount to a functioning society.” We need elections to work in the most democratic fashion possible. The outcome of the Federal Election in May gave us pause to reflect on the significant shift of what matters and for whom it matters. It was a changing of the old guard and a progressive moment for marginalised groups in Australia that are seeking recognition and momentum.

Faster Networks also put their best foot forward to understand cryptocurrency and the impacts it has had and, is having on the world at large. This burgeoning decentralised and dysregulated banking system isn’t just economic. Bitcoin mining is an energy intensive process creating its very own environmental issues from uncontrolled investment and emissions. What we believed would solve some of the hierarchical headaches of traditional banking just made us reach for stronger painkillers, as we watched Sam Bankman-Fried get arrested in the Bahamas in December. At the time of reporting he has also agreed to be extradited to the US. FTX suffered from a rapid divestment that led to a collapse. The value of bitcoin in the last year has dropped more than 60% and it’s hard to look away.

We draw the year to a close, not knowing if we have invested more in ourselves than we withdrew. The drama seems like a fiction novel, we could not have predicted the turns and swerves, highs and lows. Go forth with your tech protection maximised and your vulnerability minimised.

Faster Networks is taking a short break to download on the year that was and set some new goals for what’s ahead. See you there.