Welcome to The Cyber Society

Let's face it: the future is now. 

We are already living in a cyber society, so we need to stop ignoring it or pretending that is not affecting us.

Here is where IT security and society truly intersect. Here is where we discuss the impact that technology and cybersecurity - or the lack of - have on our everyday life.

Here is where we look at all the internet-connected conveniences, we raise our voice and call for awareness, and we educate about information security, privacy and cyber safety.

Here is where we tell institutions, businesses, organizations, parents, kids, educators, and the whole of society to wake up and learn how to live with the future. 

Because there is no better place than here, and no better time than now, to talk about the future of this digitally connected world.

- Marco Ciappelli 


“We've arranged a civilization in which most crucial elements profoundly depend on science and technology. We have also arranged things so that almost no one understands science and technology. This is a prescription for disaster.” 
― Carl Sagan



The Moral Compass 

What could our AI do with all your data? Something good or something evil? How about a lot of cash?

On today’s episode of The Cyber Society, I talk about topics around the Moral Compass with Ashwin Krishnan - Senior Vice President of Products & Strategy at HyTrust - and Sean Martin - Co-Founder and Editor in Chief of ITSP magazine.

In this conversation, we discuss few of the many options that large companies have when it comes to utilizing the big amount of data that they are, and will keep harvesting from everyone.

As they say with great powers, come great responsibility. You can be the hero, or you can be the villain, and commercial gain could obviously - most probably - be the factor that could make the difference between good and evil.

The fact is that AI will soon be able not only to understand all you are saying but also to read your facial expressions, recognize the tone of your voice, read the vital signs transmitted by your wearables and - oh, so much more personal information. Once collected, all these ingredients will be thrown into an algorithmic blender, and in a tiny fraction of a second it will serve you a “Here Is What You Want, Need or Should Do” organic and nutritious smoothie.  

Cars and other sorts of machines could then act on those results. You didn’t know that you wanted a cappuccino, yet, but your phone and car did. So, there you go: Starbucks is approaching on your right in about 1 minute - and this is probably one of the nicest outcomes. 
How are you going to react when that happens to you for the first time? Would you love it, hate or would you even know what is going on?

If you are looking for answers, do not listen to this podcast. 
If you are looking for food for thoughts and you want to start thinking about the technology that is already, not only surrounding us but interacting with us, and becoming part of us, then you are about to listen to a good story


Sponsored Content

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If you’re not constantly re-evaluating your web security, you’re leaving yourself vulnerable.

Verizon Digital Media Services’ cloud-based solution experts and Distil Networks, a leading bot-detection and mitigation provider discuss how to adapt your web security strategy to today’s evolving cyber threat scape.

• Types of attacks in 2017 and the scale you need to defend against them

• The true costs of cyber threats to your organization

• Effectively deploying Web Application Firewall and other web security measures so that you have the agility to respond to threats and implement security updates quickly

• Preventing price scraping, locked inventory, brute-force gift card fraud and other malicious bot behavior

Click here to learn more

Conversations from Black Hat 2017

Power To The People - Knowledge Is Power.
A podcast with Chris Roberts and Dr. Christopher Pierson

This podcast is a post live panel conversation, following “Power To The People - Knowledge Is Power,” during Black Hat 2017 in Las Vegas.

Sean Martin and Marco Ciappelli invited Chris Roberts - Chief Security Architect at Acalvio Technologies - and Dr. Christopher Pierson - Chief Security Officer and General Counsel at Viewpost - to hang out with us and have a chat. 

It is an interesting conversation. We invite you to listen to it.

We started discussing the status of Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning in today's cybersecurity solutions. What is possible, what is not, and what is “marketing” making appear today’s reality? I took the bullet for that. You are welcome, marketers! 

We also spoke about what is happening with all this big data collection executed by different kind of IoT devices, and what it takes to TRULY turn this into a positive thing for the final users. Privacy and security are concepts that cannot just be built in the products; they have to be built in the companies. It is TRUST. 

There is much more than just convenience in technology nowadays; there are inconveniences too and the only way for the users to be safe - for the time being - is to stay informed and empower themselves. At least enough to understand the basics.

Get ready; this is just the beginning of the Cyber Society. 
The best - or worst - has yet to come.

Have you met the GRIMM? We did, in Las Vegas, during Black Hat 2017. This is a great story. Enjoy!

What you are about to listen to is a new episode of The Cyber Society Podcast Series with Marco Ciappelli, which, this time, also happens to be part of the Diverse IT Podcast Series with Selena Templeton.

While in Las Vegas, for Black Hat USA 2017 and DEFCON we had a great conversation with Bryson Bort, Founder and CEO of GRIMM.

We discussed how GRIMM approaches diversity and inclusion, and how companies can really walk the talk if they put their heart into it. We also covered more societal, psychological and philosophical topics around cybersecurity for large companies, small businesses, and most importantly... users.

In the end, it wasn't as scary as we thought; actually, we had a great time.

Listen to this podcast and hopefully, you will learn something while having a laugh or two.

Thank you GRIMM!

The Internet of Things status quo is a mess. We need trust and transparency, and we need it now.

Today’s conversation is with Ashwin Krishnan, Senior Vice President of Products & Strategy at HyTrust.

After a great podcast about the Moral Compass for Autonomous Vehicles that Ashwin had with Sean Martin, Marco Ciappelli took over the torch and invited Ashwin to join the Cyber Society Podcast on ITSPmagazine.

The two met during Black Hat 2017 in Las Vegas, a day after we all learned that Rumba Vacuum Cleaners weren't just collecting dust, bread crumbs and pets hair; oh no, they were collecting map floors of people homes, and who knows what else.

Seriously, what is going on with all this big data harvesting? It is so cheap to do nowadays that companies do it anyway - either they need the data for their product or not. The commercial value may be huge for marketers shortly. But who is allowing companies to collect information about our homes, our cars, our lifestyle, and overall our privacy? How can a user opt-out or opt-in, and decide something that doesn’t even know about?

Listen to this conversation, and you will start getting the picture of the mess we are in with the Internet of Things right now. 

It is complicated, but we need to empower the user, we need knowledge, and we need a Moral Compass and strong ethics.

The Cyber Society needs trust and transparency, and it needs it right now.

Gary Hayslip and Ted Harrington chat with ITSPmagazine after The Side Effects Of The Internet Of Things | A Live Experts Panel At Black Hat USA 2017

Following the ITSPmagazine and BrightTALK live panel session at Black Hat USA 2017, two of the expert panelists - Gary Hayslip from Webroot and Ted Harrington from Independent Security Evaluators - chat with Sean Martin and Marco Ciappelli about the Internet of Things and their impact on businesses of all shapes and sizes.

The Moral Compass: Autonomous vehicles… whose life is worth more?

When software determines how autonomous vehicles behave - both in normal situations and in life-and-death situations - what can we expect as a society. What will these vehicles “know” about us, the other vehicles, and the the passengers in the surrounding area such that moral decisions can be made on the fly? Will we have control over this moral compass - or are we set to live in a world controlled by machines and software? Ashwin Krishnan, SVP of product and strategy at HyTrust chats about this new world with ITSPmagazine's Sean Martin.

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History is full of inventions that were dreamed and developed with the intention to do good for humanity, until crazy came along and turned them into bad things, really bad things. Nothing is intrinsically good or intrinsically bad, it all comes down to how we use things.

Here is a thought that Chris Roberts wrote after the Manchester terror attack. I asked him if I could share it. He said yes. Here it is. 

Think about it.

Jeremiah Grossman shares his personal advice about living - and even dying - at the intersection of IT Security & Society. 

Jeremiah Grossman, Chief of Security Strategy at SentinelOne, talks with Sean Martin from ITSPmagazine about living our lives securely - and passing on securely - as the digital world continues to evolve. Get Jeremiah's personal tips on home network security, password management, and more, in this exclusive ITSPmagazine An InfoSec Life interview. If you've never heard of someone getting "chipped".... tune in here to learn more.

Chris Roberts chats with ITSPmagazine about cyber security VS. cyber safety, artificial intelligence, privacy and other "fun" stuff.

Chris Roberts chats with ITSPmagazine's founders Marco Ciappelli and Sean Martin about raising awareness and helping people use their technology more securely. We discuss perceptions and responsibility and how machine learning and artificial intelligence can help us be more secure if we surrender ourselves to it. The question is, are we already surrendering too much? We also ponder two other ideas... is the word "security" lost on society - would the word "safety" suit us better? And, last but not least, is there a big marketing value in having a certified "CyberSafe" product?

Apart from fantasy novels, what am I reading lately?

Here is a curated selection of articles that make me think about what happened, is happening, and will - presumably - happen at the intersection of IT security and society.


Oh, look, The age of Artificial Intelligence surveillance is here. Smile 😎

The age of AI surveillance is here
By Dave Gershgorn | Quartz.com

For years we’ve been recorded in public on security cameras, police bodycams, livestreams, other people’s social media posts, and on and on. But even if there’s a camera in our face, there’s always been a slight assurance that strangers wouldn’t really be able to do anything that affects us with the footage. The time and effort it would take for someone to trawl through months of security footage to find a specific person, or search the internet on the off-chance they’ll find you is just unrealistic. But not for robots.


Read the full article 


How Invisible Interfaces Are Going To Transform The Way We Interact With Computers

In the mid-nineties, a computer scientist at Xerox PARC theorized the concept of the Internet of Things, albeit with a different name, far before anyone else had and even further still before it had become possible.
By Greg Gascon | Pionic.org

Even though today we call it by that name, Ubiquitous Computing — as it was then coined by Mark Weiser — imagined a world wherein cheap and ubiquitous connected computing would radically alter the way we use and interact with computers. The idea was ahead of its time. In the world of ubiquitous computing, connected devices would become cheap and, thereby, would exist everywhere.

So, what is Ubiquitous Computing, and what exactly should an Invisible Interface look like? Contradiction aside.


Read the full article


When technology helps to make us feel more human.
Yes it can happen. 

Thanks To Telepresence Robots, Kids Can Attend School From Home
The internet-enabled machines can help kids feel connected to their classmates when they can’t be in school for extended periods. Even field trips are possible.
By Steven Melendez | Fast Company

Earlier this year, 11-year-old Cloe Gray spent months at home from her Maryland elementary school after having surgery. But she still took part in her fifth-grade class, strolled the halls with her best friend, and joined her classmates at the school cafeteria.

She did it by using a telepresence robot, an internet-enabled videoconferencing machine on wheels that looks like a tablet attached to a Segway.

“She was able to participate in class,” says her mother, Tiffany Gray. “She’d raise the robot up to be able to raise her hand. She participated in group sessions, reading activities.”


Read the full article


Because, why bothering with trying to reproduce a human, get a real one.
There are plenty, and they will screw things up just fine.

Why the rudest chatbot Is the best chatbot
Chatbots don’t need to bother with human niceties. A case for erring on the side of silence. 
By Elizabeth McGuane | Co.Design

Chatbots don’t need to bother with human niceties.
Intercom’s Elizabeth McGuane makes a case for erring on the side of silence. 

Ahead of us, there are two roads:

  • A future based on artificial intelligence, building toward a real understanding of what a person is saying, then generating the right response. This is hard to do with a high degree of accuracy, and leads to all sorts of potentially creepy sci-fi futures.
  • A future of controllable, scripted responses to a fixed set of commands. These bots may be full of personality and generate complex scripts, but their understanding is basic, and they can’t guarantee a nuanced response.

Choosing the right road means choosing the right way to understand the other side of the conversation. To what degree should a bot anticipate what’s happening on the other side of the wall?


Read the full article


From a design perspective, the minimalism of the interface is a beautiful thing. But I would draw the line before minimalism turns into absence. The abstraction of the internet and modern technology is a big piece of our Society's Cybersecurity problem.

The disappearing computer
Tech was once always in your way. Soon, it will be almost invisible
By Walt Mossberg | The Verge

This is my last weekly column for The Verge and Recode — the last weekly column I plan to write anywhereI’ve been doing these almost every week since 1991, starting at The Wall Street Journal, and during that time, I’ve been fortunate enough to get to know the makers of the tech revolution, and to ruminate — and sometimes to fulminate — about their creations.

Now, as I prepare to retire at the end of that very long and world-changing stretch, it seems appropriate to ponder the sweep of consumer technology in that period, and what we can expect next.


Read the full article

From our newsroom


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