Phone Hacking Within Minutes on Public Wi-Fi!

Tech Summit Attendees Get a Lesson in Cyber Hacking and Witness Just How Unsecure Our Personal Data Is

‘Stunning’, ‘Scary’, ‘Sensational’ – these are just some of the words attendees at the sold-out it@Cork Tech Summit used to describe what they witnessed at today’s event. With some standing on their tippy toes, some seated and others crouched around the edges of the room, 400 attendees crammed into the City Hall’s Millennium Hall yesterday to witness Cybercrime experts, from global Cyber Security company Trend Micro, hack into a personal phone and computer using the public Wi-Fi system.

The “live hack” demo gave attendees a taste of the real, pervasive and very threatening world of cybercrime that is growing and developing throughout the world – and brought it home to each and every spectator just how vulnerable they are.

Robert McArdle, Director for Cybercrime Research in Trend Micro’s “Forward Looking Threat” research team & speaker at this year’s event addressed stunned onlookers,

Data breaches are one of the biggest risks to consumers today  and it is also completely out of their control. While already insidious, data breaches are going to get much worse in the very near future.”

Robert McArdle Director FTR Cybercrime Research Trend Micro, Gillian Bergin Vice Chair it@cork and Anthony O’Callaghan Chairperson it@cork pictured at it@cork Tech Summit 2019, City Hall Cork.
Photography by Gerard McCarthy 

Cybercrime in Numbers

Mr. McArdle gave the audience the lowdown on cybercrime all over the world,

–          1.1 Billion

The world’s biggest breach to date was the hacking of Aadhar – the Unique Government ID system for India. Last year the government database that holds that information was breached and the records of 1.1 billion people were stolen. This meant that the private details of almost 1/7 of the world’s population were in the hands of attackers. In Western news, breaches such as the Marriott hotels, MyFitnessPal, MyHeritage and Cambridge Analytica got a lot more press – but all those combined don’t even come close to this.

–          $2.7 billion

“This is the financial number of reported losses to the FBI for Cybercrime in 2018. But the reality is much worse than that – firstly this is only for the US, not the whole world. Secondly – this only accounts for known cases of Cybercrime.”

–          8.4 billion

“This is the number of internet connected devices by the end of 2018. So as of last year, there are more internet connected devices in the world, than there are humans. And this figure is expected to hit 125million by 2020. Everything in our world is getting more connected – and if it is connected, it can be hacked.”

–          90%

“90% of all the data in the world was generated in the last 2 years.  And what is the inbuilt human reaction when bombarded with so much information, uncertainty or threats? Fear. Fear is a major social problem as a response to the security threats and trends on the Internet today, leading to increased anger, hate and suffering among humanity.

The brain has had millions of years to evolve fight of flights response, but only thirty to evolve to the new deluge of information being thrown at it from the internet every day. And this overload is only going to increase.”


What Can We Do?

Trend Micro experts say education is key for a few reasons, and cite the city’s courses in Cyber Security and Cloud Computing in CIT and UCC as important assets in this regard.

Mr. McArdle went on,

“Education removes the uncertainty of the tech side of today’s problems – and that in turn leads to reduced fear and more acceptance. There are so many really top quality, free, online courses around today, that there really is no excuse for people to not dive into security in their teens. Even more so than in the past, those interested in careers in security absolutely do not need to wait until college to start. In fact, if they do, they will be about 5 years behind the best of their peers.

I think that 3rd level institutions will need to think about how to re-architect their courses in the near future to cater for the amount of knowledge that students will already be bringing with them into third level programmes.”


In summing up his presentation, the Trend Micro security expert outlined that the internet has created whole new classes of threats that have never existing for the majority of human history, and posited that humans will have to group together across a much wider spectrum of diversity in order to figure out how to stop them,

“Cybercrime is not a technology problem – it’s a human one. Cybercrime is simply crime on the internet, and the internet lets us carry it faster and at larger scales than ever before. So remember, you are not defending against computers – you are defending against smart humans. And there is no better way to do that than to embrace differences and assemble an agile team with all sorts of world views, that can handle absolutely anything an attacker can throw at them.

While this includes men, women and people from a diversity of backgrounds, it also means expanding beyond that, and embracing those who are not ‘neuro-typical’, for example the Autistic community, and other more neuro-diverse individuals. I’m generalising, but some of the most innovative people in security I know, have combined a passion for security with an amazingly unique autistic or neuro-diverse brain, to solve problems in a way you will never get from 98% of this room. The internet has created whole new classes of threats that have never existing for the majority of human history, so why should we assume that majority of humans are the ones with the best minds to figure out how to stop them?

By Jim O Brien/CEO

CEO and expert in transport and Mobile tech. A fan 20 years, mobile consultant, Nokia Mobile expert, Former Nokia/Microsoft VIP,Multiple forum tech supporter with worldwide top ranking,Working in the background on mobile technology, Weekly radio show, Featured on the RTE consumer show, Cavan TV and on TRT WORLD. Award winning Technology reviewer and blogger. Security and logisitcs Professional.

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