Last night I had dinner with Carlos Solari, sometime White House CIO and V-P Security for Alcatel-Lucent and CSC, now co-author of eNikita. Carlos was happy for me to blog about the latter and his motives for writing it. eNikita is intended to be the first volume in a crowd-sourced and funded trilogy to draw in readers and educate them in the realities of cybercrime and response as they are today – in the world exposed by Edward Snowden and Mischa Glenny (McMafia and Dark Market ). As I had suspected, everything in the book has happened, but the changing of names, remixing of incidents and excuse that the book is fiction has enabled the authors to get clearance from the FBI and their libel lawyers to go where others have not. On Friday Carlos will be attending the public launch of the book in Oslo – where parts of the book will have a particular resonance. He hopes to organise a similar event in New York where where other parts will have equal resonance.
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The decision to use pederasty rather than fraud or extortion as the main linking thread was deliberate, to maximise sales, but the book is actually about the interconnectedness of all three in the quest by organised crime for power over current and potential victims, personal, corporate or state. The short (one page) preface to the book begins with a quotation from Martin Luther King: “I am cognisant of the inter-relatedness of all communities and states. I cannot sit idly by in Atlanta and not be concerned about what happens in Birmingham. Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a sigle garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly. ” Carlos and John-Patrick Skaar extend this to the on-line world “where we blend the real and the virtual”.
In this context the positive role of the Guardian in exposing the rot at the heart of the semi-privatised and politicised surveillance operations of the US needs to be balanced against the way it has also greatly weakened the operations of GCHQ, with its very much more robust governance. No one would believe a plot line in which Malcolm Tucker ordered the collection of material to enable HMRC to investigate the tax affairs of his opponents or the police to breathalyze them after a constituency party. Perhaps that was why the US remake of “The Thick of It” failed. US audiences could not relate to the limitations on Malcolm Tucker’s powers. We need to understand just how important it is to move rapidly to build confidence in genuinely trustworthy frameworks for co-operation against organised crime and corruption, not just the terrorist bogeymen of the day and certainly not against political opponents.
I therefore have no hesitation in updating my blogs on how to get main board buy in for your cyber security and the problem of boards with awareness but no strategy . Give a copy of eNikita to your CEO. He may not relate to the pederasty and grooming thread, unless he has children or grandchildren, but he will certainly relate to the parallel hijacking of the retirement funds of one of the parents. Your challenge will then be to provide him with an up-to-date, relevant and evolving, intelligence led, security strategy. On that I hope to blog again shortly,