Friday, September 23rd, 2016

People have always wanted to make money, since the beginning of time. Whether that ‘money’ was in the form of food, gold, seeds etc. they were always trying to be get that ‘money’ to provide for their family and obtain luxurious items. In 2016 the easiest way to make money is through the internet. And how would one do that? SEO.

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Saturday, July 30th, 2016

Espionage will never stop being fascinating. Through history, we have been treated to various stories, whether fictional or true, of characters breaking into lairs to steal secrets. Today, as businesses thrive and survive in the Information Age, it shouldn’t surprise anyone that the information that establishments, companies, and even countries have become hot commodities that could affect people in a large scale.

Here, we will about 10 famous people (and groups) that have been known to exploit, manipulate, and use the information that they have gathered, illegally and legally, to their advantage. These people have been known to breach the security and the privacy of various sectors of society for various, and even at times, malevolent, reasons. These 10 of the greatest hackers of all time.

Adrian Lamo

Adrian Lamo is infamous for breaching into the various high-profile security systems of The New York Times, Yahoo!, and Microsoft. He gained access to highly-sensitive databases which led to him being sentenced to two years on probation, and paying a fine of roughly $65,000. He is also known for turning in Chelsea Manning, who leaked classified US Army information via WikiLeaks.

Albert Gonzalez

Albert Gonzalez was infamous for the theft of over 170 million credit card and ATM numbers by hacking into several corporate systems from 2005 to 2007. He has also used these sensitive pieces of information for his own luxury. He confessed to his crimes and was arrested in the year 2010. He was then sentenced to 20 years in prison.

The Syrian Electronic Army

The Syrian conflict has been covered by the media for over 5 years already, and the atrocities committed in it are not exclusive to the realms of violence. The Syrian Electronic Army, supporting Bashar al-Assad, was known for wreaking such havoc through DDoS attacks, all throughout various high-profile networks in the cyberspace. The targets included sites such as The New York Times, The Onion, The Huffington Post, LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook.

Robert Tappan Morris

Robert Tappan Morris created the first known computer worm that crashed almost 1/10th of the Internet back in 1988. His worm caused damage amounting to about $15 million. He was tracked down when it was discovered that he had been talking to various people before he released the worm. He became the first ever person who violated the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act in 1989. He was sentenced to 3 years on probation, 400 hours of community service, and paid a $10,050 fine.



Vladimir Levin

Vladimir Levin breached Citibank’s systems and allegedly stole $10.7 million from their clients and transferred the money to his own accounts in the year 1994. He was arrested in March 1995 by the Scotland Yard. In 1998, he was sentenced to 3 years in jail, and ordered to make restitution of $240,015. Citibank was only able to recover $400,000 from the $10.7 million stolen from them.

Kevin Poulsen

Kevin Poulsen was notorious for hacking into the telephone line of a Los Angeles radio station, KIIS-FM, in an attempt to become the 102nd caller who would then win the prize of a Porsche 944 S2. He was sentenced to five years in a federal penitentiary, and banned from using computers for 3 years after his release.

Gary McKinnon

Gary McKinnon was infamous for what has been said as the biggest military hack of all time. In 2001-2002, he was able to gain control over 97 US Military networks, even taunting those who had access to the system with the statement, “Your security system is crap.” He had access to the networks of the US Army, Air Force, Navy, and NASA. It was said that he was only viewing those sights in order to search for information regarding UFOs.

Max Butler

Max Butler was known to have digitally stolen over two million credit card numbers, and ran up over $86 million in fraudulent charges. He was accused of operating the site “Carders Market” which facilitated the buying and selling of stolen financial data. He was sentenced to 13 years in prison, and is ordered to pay $27.5 million in restitution to his victims.

Jonathan James

Jonathan James was only 16 when he was convicted for hacking. He was known for breaching the systems of many high-profile US Government networks such as NASA, and the Department of Defense. He was arrested in 2000, and was under probation until the age of 18. He took his own life in 2008.

Kevin Mitnick

At one point, Kevin Mitnick was the most-wanted cybercriminal in the US. He is known for hacking and stealing information from various major companies such as Sun Microsystems and Novell. He even confessed that he successfully hacked into the NSA’s phone networks. He was sentenced to five years in prison, and is now working as a security consultant.

Monday, June 20th, 2016

Cryptography can be broadly defined as the practice of combining mathematical, computer science and electrical engineering techniques to come up with a secure communication process that is safe from adversaries or eavesdroppers.

Cryptography is closely related to data encryption and decryption, with the two being individual processes largely used in cryptography. Data encryption is where a message is changed from plaintext or understandable form to cipher text or coded message which has no clear obvious meaning. Decryption is the reverse of the encryption process. In each of these process, a crucial component called a key is required. Basically, a key is a character set or algorithm used to decipher the meaning of a cipher text so as to get the intended meaning.In cryptography, the key is usually exchanged between the sender and the recipient, still in hidden fashion. This prevents the eavesdropper or third party from understanding the message being passed across.


Cryptography dates back to Egypt in about 2000BC. This first form of cryptography, believed to be in the form of hieroglyphics, is suggested to have been solely for the amusement of literacy enthusiasts and not message hiding of any kind.

Since its discovery in 2000BC, cryptography has advanced well through the centuries. From mere manual encryption and decryption of text passed via plain paper, cryptography over the years shifted into cryptography machines, which were able to encrypt and decrypt confidential, classified messages, in automated fashion.Such machines were very common in World War II, such as the Enigma machine that was used by German forces in both World War I and II. The rapid development of cryptography, especially in complexity during the war led to the development of Colossus, the first computer based decryption machine that was built to decipher messages from the German Lorenz SZ40/42 machine.

In the modern society, cryptography is associated with more than just the security of plain text involving letters and digits. Images, sound and anything re-presentable in binary format, which is the lowest level of language in a computer can be encrypted and decrypted. Modern cryptography covers more than message hiding or confidentiality. Objectives such as integrity, non-repudiation and authentication define modern cryptography computers.

Integrity for instance ensures that the information cannot be manipulated in transit or storage between the sender and receiver. Non-repudiation ensures that the sender is accountable for the message sent or created thus he/she cannot deny the transmission at a later stage. The final objective, authentication, ensures that the sender/ receiver can confirm each other’s identity such that the origin/destination of the message is as intended.These objectives are met via protocols and procedures implicitly referred to as cryptosystems. These cryptosystems guide how information is secured and transmitted over a network. Computer security thus comes under great focus in modern cryptography. Several areas of study exist for modern cryptography. The chief ones are symmetric-key cryptography and public key cryptography.

Symmetric-key cryptography is a situation where the key is the same for both encryption and decryption. This means that how a message is hidden is the same way it is deciphered at the receiver. However, each sender-receiver network has its own unique key. The major problem is where the number of unique keys that need to be generated increases with the square of the number of single sender-receiver networks. This brings about a key management problem. The public key implementation however uses one common key for encryption, but a secret/ private key, only known to the recipient for decryption. This approach reduces the key management complexity involved with using symmetric keys as the number of keys does not increase exponentially with the number of networks.

The internet for instance employs cryptosystems such as the https for secure message and data transfer between sites, especially for e-commerce sites. This security is very essential in protecting sensitive data such as credit card details and private account details of online users. A great security concern arises when cryptography is used for espionage. Several countries have strict regulations on the development of cryptosystems and require that the algorithms be within public domain. This is to ensure malicious computer and cyber-attacks are kept at bay.