Lightsabers, data breaches and the dark side

How the Internet is like the Force

Market Segment Manager, IBM

A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away, the Jedi and Sith waged battles with the Force. Obi-Wan Kenobi defined the Force as “an energy field created by all living things. It surrounds us and penetrates us; it binds the galaxy together.” In 1977 this sounded like a metaphysical sci-fi concept that was believable only in fictional scenarios with huge furry creatures, massive blobs that eat pizza and Harrison Ford. Today, however, the Force sounds a lot like the Internet.

Like the Force, the Internet connects and binds us through our digital transactions and footprints.

Also like the Force, the Internet is used for both good and evil. Criminal and terrorist networks not only use the web to expand their networks, but to execute their malicious activities. What’s at risk? Organizations and individuals are constantly under cyberattack. Data, identities, intellectual property and money are just a few of things up for grabs. Just look at any news source today to read about an organization or public works data breach.

In fact, these breaches are becoming so prevalent that, when they occur, nefarious activity is now the general assumption. Take the recent breach of the federal government’s system, which has been defined as the biggest breach of U.S. Government systems ever. Or the power outage in Washington DC a few weeks ago. While CNBC reported that the Department of Homeland Security and Pepco respectively stated that this blackout was not due to a terrorist or criminal act, the initial assumption that it was terrorist-related was not uncommon. And what about Sony’s big hack, followed by physical threats on any theater that played the movie The Interview upon release?

On the other hand, when used for good, the Internet can become the positive balance that contains the data to counter cyber threats.

Capturing the digital trail left behind by criminals, the Internet provides the intelligence community with a wealth of information that, with the right tools, can disrupt cyberattacks and identify the threat actors before nations, civilians or organizations are harmed. This is a fine line, of course, that could also put civilian privacy at risk.

Use the Force, and the Internet, for good.

Is it possible that intelligence analysis solutions could function as the proverbial lightsaber that helps analysts and intelligence agencies protect the innocuous Internet users from the nefarious ones? Perhaps, by arming this community with these innovative solutions, we can help them quickly sift through and hone in on the data that matters—balancing our privacy with our security.

This is the challenge that IBM i2 is meeting with the commitment to developing innovative solutions that will help the intelligence community create a Safer Planet.

Guard against threats