If It’s Smart, It’s Vulnerable | Mikko Hypponen

Summary of: If It’s Smart, It’s Vulnerable
By: Mikko Hypponen


Welcome to the fascinating world of ‘If It’s Smart, It’s Vulnerable’ by Mikko Hypponen. This book explores the evolution of malware and its impact on our increasingly connected world. Delve into the history of viruses, worms, and trojans, and be prepared to face the complex reality of cybercrime as an industry worth billions. Learn about cyberweapons and nation-state involvement in cyberwarfare, while understanding strategies for optimal information security and response to threats. This summary will guide you through the multifaceted landscape of cybersecurity, revealing how each advancement in technology brings with it new vulnerabilities and challenges.

Malware’s imminent threat

Malware software poses imminent threats to internet users as cybercriminals and international agencies deploy it for malicious purposes. The book emphasizes the internet’s double-edged sword nature, being both a blessing and a curse. Paradoxically, the more devices, appliances, and infrastructure connect to the web, the riskier the phenomenon becomes.

Evolution of Malware

Malware has been a concern for computers since the 1980s. The advent of IBM PC made it more accessible, and the introduction of accessories such as modems and network cards prompted the creation of new malware such as file viruses. The internet provided an additional way for malware to spread through email and file-sharing services. Macro viruses, email worms, internet worms, exploit kits, and ransomware trojans are the different forms of malware in the present day.

The Rise of Online Criminals

Online criminal gangs are flourishing, as cybercrime proves to be a lucrative industry worth billions of dollars. These gangs’ income increases around 100% a year and rely on storing their assets, usually bitcoins, to commit various crimes. The US State Department is offering a reward of $10 million for tips leading to the arrest of certain online crime gangs. Since the early 2000s, viruses have been used to gain money, thanks to collaboration between spammers and virus creators. Cybercriminals have been progressively relying on ransomware trojan attacks, which have become more accessible since the emergence of bitcoin. Criminals prefer cryptocurrency because transactions can be invisible, irreversible, and uninsured. The rise of online crime has become a significant problem, creating both opportunities and challenges, much like the internet itself.

Cyberwarfare: The Next Generation Weapon

Cyberweapons are increasingly being utilized by governments to inflict significant damage and seem less costly compared to traditional armaments. Stuxnet, one of the most effective cyberweapons, sabotaged Iranian centrifuges, proving to be a severe setback for their nuclear weapons program. Cyberwarfare provides plausible deniability and allows countries to launch attacks appearing as the work of other nations. Governments sponsored global trojan attacks like NotPetya and WannaCry in 2017, with the former causing unprecedented financial damage. To protect information systems, it is necessary to identify attackers and understand their motives. Technology is shaping relationships between superpowers, changing the nature of conflicts and the way wars will be waged in the future.

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