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Prof. Teodora Bakardzhieva, PhD: Every link on the Internet is a door that can be opened by attackers


For the technologies that increasingly take over our everyday life, the risks they carry and the ways we can protect them on the network, Prof. Bakardzhieva in the "Nasame" column for the Cherno More Information Agency

 

TEXT: MARIANA STOYKOVA

 

Prof. Teodora Bakardzhieva has been working in the field of information technology since 1990, when she attended a 6-month specialization course at VINITI, Moscow. It is the time when the Internet entered Bulgaria via Digital Systems Company, Varna.

 

In the early 1990s, she published a book on the Internet, the first Bulgarian book to reveal the potential of new modern technologies. Varna Free University (VFU) is one of the first universities, which included training courses on them. This opens up possibilities for the university to use the potential of foreign educational institutions, research centres and different companies in the process of educating students through presentational and videoconferencing lectures delivered by specialists not only from Bulgaria, but also from universities from Europe, the USA, Israel and etc.

 

Professor at the Department of Informatics and Economics, Vice-Rector for International Affairs,Projects and Technological Developmentand Member of the Management Board of the Union of Scientists in Bulgaria - Varna Branch, Prof. Bakardzhieva in the "Nasame" column ...

 

On the Internet, only for a minute the transfer of over 1,5 million GB global data such as these of Netflix and Youtube are carried out. This accounts for more than half of the traffic. 481,000 tweets are sent, 4 million queries are made to Google, 3.3 million messages are shared on Facebook, 38,194 photos are uploaded to Instagram, 400 million dollars is the sales turnover in Alibaba ...  

 

Technologies change all the spheres of our lives,

but their impact on education is most striking, an area that determines the future development of each society. We are entering an era of universal connectivity. However, the more information technology is developing, the more the threats on the Internet are growing.

Any operation or action the user performs is fixed - search for information, shopping, movement, location, "like", etc. And as more and more of our physical world becomes digital, crime that has once been rooted in the "real world" will become predominant in cyberspace.

Only in 2017 the growth of cryptoviruses exceeded 2,500%, affecting hospitals, private companies and individual consumers. Companies that provide cloud services to store huge amounts of data are a primary goal for cybercriminals.

 

The first and largest providers of cloud services, such as Google, Amazon, and IBM, have resources and expertise to hinder attackers, but small cloud providers are likely to be more vulnerable and their customer data can be encrypted and held for ransom.

The Internet of Things (IoT) is phenomenal for innovation in technology. IoT plays an enormous role in the planning of transport routes, accident prevention, safety and even the development of autonomous vehicles. In one home, everything can be "smart" and connected to the Internet nowadays.

 

The negative side of the technology is that

each link is a door that can be opened by attackers.

As far back as 2016, hackers used an army of connected network of devices to shut down the Internet in the more important parts of the United States. Many IoT products become easy targets for deploying malware and when there is a coordinated attack on one million of them, the results can be catastrophic.

An example of using good technology for bad intent is Botnet. It is nothing more than a string of connected computers managed together to perform the task, such as taking control of a particular computer.

 

Good security starts by installing an Internet security package that detects malware and removes what is on your machine and prevents future attacks. Always update the operating system and applications on your computer, tablet, or phone. Hackers often use known security flaws in the operating system to install botnets. Once weaknesses are identified and announced by software companies, hackers are in a hurry to create programs to exploit these weaknesses.

Do not open attachments or activate email links that you do not recognize. These are some of the most common ways for an attack with malware.

Use firewall while browsing the web. It can be hardware and software, but if you work at a company, the system administrator of the organization does this for you.

Attackers usually send phishing emails massively by presenting themselves as a financial institution and request personal identification.

 

Social engineering is a technique for breaking the security of the system using human nature rather than technology. It represents the receipt of unauthorized access to information without intervention in the software. The purpose is to provoke people to get passwords for access to the system or other information that would help to disrupt its security.

Social engineering mainly uses psychological methods,

namely, the natural propensity of people to trust. Attacks of social engineering run on two levels: physical and psychological.

It is generally believed that if yesterday's attack is analyzed, it may be helpful to prevent a tomorrow's attack. This is a mistake because the attackers continue to change the attack vector. The approach must be fundamentally different: to assess the situation in real time and using AI (artificial intelligence) to recommend actions to be taken, even if the attack has never been seen before.

 

I am currently working on the application of Internet technology in knowledge management as an important instrument in institutional management. The timeliness of the subject is determined by the specificities of the 21st century society in which production and management of knowledge are of the utmost importance.

The emergence of knowledge-based economies highlights the importance of its effective governance.

It is described as an extremely important element for the organization that wants to secure a sustainable strategic competitive advantage. Research has shown that knowledge management is a key driver of organizational performance and an extremely important tool for its survival, competitiveness and cost-effectiveness.

 

For organizations to effectively manage knowledge and maximize benefits, three key components are important - people, processes and technology. In order to ensure the success of an organization, attention should be focused on connecting these three elements.

 

The era of semantic networks is a fact and the project of Sir Berners-Lee that offers

the establishment of a common information repository

instead of maintaining a vast collection of sites and pages is under way.  

The intention of his proposal is to collect and store data in one place, and to allow computers to search, recognize, divide and offer. The semantic network effectively exploits the capabilities of the machines. If so many and different types of specialists have been involved so far with site-related tasks, the semantic web page is crafted and perceived by computers without human intervention.

 

Instead of asking the machines to understand us, we would rather learn how to ask supplementary questions in order for consumers to make more effort in defining reality. The semantic web enters areas where knowledge is also being tested. For example, the technology is so developed that it allows through the errors made by the examinee to select the appropriate literature that is needed to correct the lost knowledge. Similar is the user assistance function developed by the Technology Institute of the University.

I love teaching and my students. The university maintains a high quality of training aimed at upgrading the theoretical knowledge of students with real practical skills and developing entrepreneurial mindset. Serious ICT training is needed, as smart technologies that require informed, educated and qualified individuals that are not vulnerable to cyber attacks are widely used.

 

Our whole team live with our work

and it gives a meaning to our existence to a great extent. When we start the new day in the morning, we hope to perform a number of tasks and sometimes the day is not enough ...

 

Often relatives and friends tell me that I do not spare enough time for them that I am addicted to my job. But I am that sort of person for whom work is like a drug. It is varied, problems are changing often, I have to go on uncharted paths and maybe that is the sweetest challenge for me. I accept emotionally successes and failures, but with the advance of age I appreciate the value of every life battle.

What gives me energy is the sea coast and the smell of the sea. I rarely find time, but I aim at  going for one-hour walks along the coast...


by ВСУ Черноризец Храбър

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