All posts by Tancredi Gentili

Enigma: a story about cipher mishandling

Enigma: a story about cipher mishandling

Enigma was a portable cipher machine producing a polyalphabetic substitution cipher. It had up to 5 rotor scramblers. Many versions included many sets of plugboard connections, which allowed a further swap of a letter with another once encrypted. Its inventor Arthur Scherbius originally developed it for commercial use in the 1920s. He later sold it to German Armed Forces since the early 1930s. The military Enigma equipped with 5 rotors and 10 plugboard connections has 158,962,555,217,826,360,000 possible combinations. Good operating procedures, properly enforced, would have made Enigma unbreakable in the 1940s. History teaches us that this was not the case. Many historians agree that the Allies won WW2 thanks to the deciphering of […]

Phishing: how to detect one of the subtlest online threats

Phishing: how to detect one of the subtlest online threats

Phishing is one the subtlest threats in the dark world of cyber threats. The world has been witnessing a surge in phishing attacks since the outbreak of the pandemic. It may be extremely disruptive and carry big security problems, but there are several ways to mitigate this threat. With a caveat: enhancing your cybersecurity through software  is essential, but it is not a silver bullet. Indeed, much depends on users’ behavior and threat actors know that. Let’s explore how, then! How to avoid phishing: identifying threats Scammers have increased their sophistication to induce victims into trap. Phishing emails and text messages may look like they’re from a company you know […]

Olicyber: the future of Italian cybersecurity is here!

Olicyber: the future of Italian cybersecurity is here!

Will the curriculum of Italian pupils soon include hacking? There is a chance. Italy is organizing its first CyberOlimpics, Olicyber, organised by CINI and TeamItaly, the Italian white hackers team. The organizing committee means to convey the value and the culture of cybersecurity among younger generations. Hopefully, this initiative will promote the selection and the  training of future and talented cybersecurity professionals. Olicyber: what is it? Disciplines of the Cyber Olympics include Web Security, Cryptography, Sofware Security, and Network Security. These special athletes are the pupils of Italian high-school. An additional merit of OliCyber is that the organizers will select the participants without discrimination, especially ensuring gender equality. Participation is […]

Cablocracy: the history of (and the struggle for) undersea comms

Cablocracy: the history of (and the struggle for) undersea comms

Did you know that nations and power struggle for cablocracy, that is the control for strategic comms? In the age of wireless and mobile, few people know that a long net of submarine cables connects the world and allow communications cablocracy to take place. Today, more than 99% of international communications are carried over fiber optic cables, most of them undersea. In total, around 380 underwater cables in operation literally wrap the world. Data revels that their aggregate length is about  1.2 million kilometers. They deliver internet worldwide and are at the same one of the goals and the tools of today’s geopolitics. Let’s explore what cablocracy is, then. The […]

Cyberwarfare and national economies

Cyberwarfare and national economies

In the dark woods of cyber threats, cyberwarfare is not just as standard threat. It is much more serious than that. It is no secret that big and key strategic businesses are the targets of very sophisticated cyber threats. Many of them are, not surprisingly, state-sponsored. Indeed, such businesses lie at the crosshairs of governments, national intelligence agencies, and even terroristic groups. In this piece, we aim to investigate what are effects of cyberwarfare on national economies and how nations could protect themselves. Cyberwarfare: what is it? First, let’s define what cyberwarfare is. Cyberwarfare refers to those activities carried out by a nation-state or international organizations meant to damage the […]

Kevin Mitnick: the computer-break-in artist

Kevin Mitnick: the computer-break-in artist

Kevin Mitnick was the most elusive computer break-in artist in history. Security experts often refer to him as the “The World’s Most Wanted Hacker”. Indeed, the US Feds took almost three years to catch him. How he did managed to do that? Let’s explore his story, then! Hacking activity Grown up in Los Angeles, Mitnick wanted to become a magician. When he learned how to make phone calls with a little blue box, he became curious about comms. This also included how phone systems work and ultimately hacked phone companies systems to learn more. Hacking into corporate networks and stealing data landed the teenager in jail. Indeed, he stole computer handbooks […]

Turin Polytechnic under attack: what you should know

Turin Polytechnic under attack: what you should know

A hacker attack has temporarily disabled online services servers of the Turin Polytechnic for a few hours. What did happen? Was it a severe violation? Let’s find it out together! What did happen? A series of cyber attacked hit the Turin Polytechnic authentication servers from several computers spread in the world on the evening 7th January 2021. The first intrusion attempt caused the halting of online authentication servers for about 15 minutes. Hackers tried again at 10 am the following day targeting the app system of the Turin Polytechnic. They used a DDoS attack with the SYNFlood technique. At 10:50 am intruders targeted the network gate of the app system. […]

Emotet infrastracture has been disrupted in Europe

Emotet infrastracture has been disrupted in Europe

Law enforcement agencies from the several EU countries and the UK have dismantled the notorious malware Emotet. The takedown of this malicious botnet happened on Tuesday, 26th January. Emotet is a computer malware program that was originally developed in the form of a banking Trojan. Its main goal was to access devices as well as spy on sensitive private data. As threat, it was particularly sneaky. It has been known to deceive basic antivirus programs and hide from them. Finally, Emotet gained popularity in the cybercrime universe for its modular architecture. Modularity makes it tailorable for every environment it targets. Let’s discover more below. The Emotet threat Experts have labelled […]

Sunburst: the attack that shook the world

Sunburst: the attack that shook the world

Cyber analysts recently discovered the “Sunburst” attack malware, which triggered a series of cyber-espionage attacks that began in the spring of 2020. The attack involved thousands of public administrations, private organizations and individuals on a global scale. American investigators have been pointing fingers at Russian-sponsored hackers. US authorities have labelled it as the most severe cyberattack against public and private bodies alike in the United States and believe that the origin of the threat are Russia-sponsored hackers. How did the Sunburst attack happen? What happened exactly? Let’s explore which intrusion technique hackers employed in this case. First, hackers implanted a malware in the software update of a platform installed in […]

Take a hacker seriously: the story of Raphael Grey

Take a hacker seriously: the story of Raphael Grey

You will take a hacker seriously after reading the story of Raphael Grey. Raphael Grey managed to hack several e-commerce sites, accessing the customers’ credit card data for a month in 2000 at the age of 18. This hack allowed him to steal several million dollars before he was arrested by the British police and the American FBI at his home in rural Wales on March 23, 2000. Prior to his arrest, Grey posted thousands of payment data on the web to highlight the inherent weaknesses of the e-commerce sites of the time. Today we explore the activities of the best known hackers in the history of computer science, known […]

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