Know Who You Owe Your Digital Safety To

Know Who You Owe Your Digital Safety To

Daniel Kaminsky. He was a security researcher who found a significant security flaw in the internet over a decade ago. He died last week of a diabetic condition. Let’s unravel his story and understand some basics of world wide web security along the way.

Crux of the Matter

Who Is Daniel Kaminsky?
An American computer security researcher, he was the co-founder and scientist of HUMAN, a firm specializing in detecting malware activity via scripting language.

How Did It All Start?
When he was 11, his mother received a government call stating that Kaminsky had used penetration testing to intrude into military computers, and they will cut off the family’s Internet. His mother responded by saying if their access was cut, she would publicize the fact that their security is so weak that even a kid can break it!

What Happened Next?
A 3 day Internet timeout was negotiated for Kaminsky. In 2008, after he found and coordinated a fix for a fundamental DNS flaw, the government administrator thanked him.

What Was He Known For?
Amongst computer security experts, he was majorly known for his work on DNS cache poisoning, and for helping out in the 2005 Sony BMG virus which infected 568,000 devices.

What Was The Sony BMG CD Scandal?
When inserted into a computer, each CD installed software that modified the operating system to interfere with CD copying. One of the installed program was a “phone home” that spied on user habits.

Does DNS Sound Familiar?

What Can Go Wrong In DNS Cache Poisoning?
When a DNS server receives the wrong IP and caches it for performance optimization, it is ‘poisoned’, as it returns false data to users or diverts traffic to an attacker computer.

Past Major Cyber Attacks

  • Reaper is considered to be the first anti-virus software. It was assigned to delete the creeper virus from computer systems.