I attended an event today and there were lot of discussions on security threats, how to secure your perimeter, future of cyber security, governance, etc. Interesting that if you actually take a look, this entire concept of security and security threats existed since ages. Let me try to give some analogy to this entire concept with four very famous stories–

Lakshman Rekha – In the Ramayana, Lord Rama goes chasing a golden deer (which actually is the Rakshasa Maricha in disguise), and does not return for a long time. When Sita asks Lakshman to leave in search of his brother, Lakshman who cannot bear to see Sita cry in grief, reluctantly decides to go and search for Rama, subject to his condition that Sita not cross the protective line he draws. Anybody other than Rama, Sita and himself attempting to cross the line would be stopped by flames erupting from the line. Analogy – That was the first Fire Wall. The stronger your firewall, the better you are from getting attacked from outside.

Kasam Khana – In India, if we would want to tell a secret or share a piece of information with our friend/person and ensure that this is kept a secret, we ask him/her to take a kasam of not telling it to anybody. In English it’s taking an oath of not sharing it with anybody. Analogy – Data Protection Policies in place to ensure right set of information is kept secure.

The Trojan Horse – The Trojan Horse is a tale from the Trojan War about the subterfuge that the Greeks used to enter the city of Troy and win the conflict. In the canonical version, after a fruitless 10-year siege, the Greeks constructed a huge wooden horse, and hid a select force of men inside. The Greeks pretended to sail away, and the Trojans pulled the horse into their city as a victory trophy. That night the Greek force crept out of the horse and opened the gates for the rest of the Greek army, which had sailed back under cover of night. The Greeks entered and destroyed the city of Troy, decisively ending the war. Analogy – Trojans are a particularly sneaky kind of malware because they look harmless or even beneficial and trick you into installing them on your system. Trojans fall into the category of “social engineering” attacks because they trick people. Trojans are typically used by cybercriminals for online fraud and theft.

Alibaba and the Forty Thieves – In the story, Ali Baba is a poor woodcutter collecting and cutting firewood in the forest, and he happens to overhear a group of forty thieves visiting their treasure store. The treasure is in a cave, the mouth of which is sealed by magic. It opens on the words “open sesame”, and seals itself on the words “close sesame”. When the thieves are gone, Ali Baba enters the cave himself, and discreetly takes a single bag of gold coins home. Analogy – The first hacker where Alibaba overhears the password and enters the cave without the knowledge of the thieves. In today’s context hackers would steal your passwords without your knowledge and create havoc in your lives.

There will be more instances of old stories which highlight the importance of security and the threats associated. The conversation I had with a gentleman who Heads the Govt. affairs for a large security organization really gave me these insights which I thought was apt in a lighter vein to talk about security. Hope you enjoyed reading as I found the analogies very interesting.

Published with permission

“Image courtesy of [Stuart Miles] / FreeDigitalPhotos.net”



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