financial fraud, Identity Theft, integral computer security, Internet and Information Technology Security, Main Digg, Malware, Network Management, personal computer security, Privacy, security, Security Awareness, social engineer, System security engineering
This is a follow up to my post Why is Internet Safety Important
Dangers of the Internet are relative to the perspective of those accessing it. That is to say, on the Internet “dangers” are completely dependent on who is accessing what data from where and what their intentions are for accessing it. For example, researching a list of poisons could be a considered “dangers to the Internet” if a seriously disturbed person intends to kill his or her spouse. On the other hand, if a parent is just wondering what house hold products are poisonous with the intention of protecting her children, can that be considered a danger?
So protection from dangers on the Internet should be proactive and involve human judgment at some level. Policies must be written, planned and implemented in advanced or ad hoc to suit the environment and the users accessing the Internet. Children at a school with access from the classroom will more than likely be different from employees at a skating rink.
Even the items commonly considered dangers on the Internet relate directly to how much access individuals and organizations allow to and from the web. Common “dangers” may include (but should not be limited to) the following:
Accessibility to personal – applies to educating users on the dangers of putting personal information on the Internet and protecting organizational data bases
Sensitive data – For a school sensitive data is likely linked to the grades and personal information of staff and student, but for a business sensitive information could include proprietary information that would hurt the bottom line if it were leaked to competition.
Financial fraud & criminal hackers/scammers- This applies to educating users about criminal hacker techniques such as malware, social engineering, email and website phishing
The access of impressionable and/or psychologically disturbed individuals to potentially harmful and destructive information – This is rather subjective however it should be a concern to schools from elementary – colleges, rehabilitation facilities and mental institutions. There are ways to block certain obvious material with web-blocker type applications, but no one can stop them all. Monitoring is a must if this danger is to be handled seriously.
The risks and damage of these dangers are dependent on the environment & the users involved. It is up to the system owners to ensure that the policies are properly planned, implemented and maintained as exposure to any Internet danger can disrupt the safety, mission and/or values of an organization or individual.
“To the weak I became weak, that I might win the weak; I have become all things to all men that I may by all means save some.” 1 Corinthians 9:22
How does a 60 year old former Episcopal priest manage to captivate a packed audience of tech savvy red teens, ambitiously orange “20-something” hackers, amber security professionals, and green information freedom hacktivists while speaking about nothing technical at DEFCON, the world largest hacker convention? Richard Thieme, author of Islands in the Click Stream, has been able to do this since DEFCON 4, 1996 (1).
There is a body of knowledge growing like a fungus in the cracks of the burgeoning technological super fortress that is the information age. Hacking is that fungi and the DEFCON hacker convention is the petri dish where this new organism is cultivated. Like penicillin, this mold can be used for good. This culture is growing tendrils beyond cyberspace and into the human mind. Complex systems and technologies are synergizing toward an integral hacking solution now pushing humanity into new levels of communication by slipping passed the psychological firewalls to communicate on a deeper level with kick ass Jedi mind tricks. Prepare for psychological nudity!
At DEFCON 14, Richard Thieme’s subject was “Beyond Social Engineering: Tools for Reinventing Yourself” in which he discussed how to “manage multiple modular identities” then link them into a seamless life by leveraging them with an intimate knowing of the true inner self (2). The auditorium was crammed with wide-eyed technophiliacs at the edge of their seats.
Even though Thieme freely admits to not having any discernable technical hacking skills he is able to successfully “hack” (a.k.a socially engineer) his way into a very elitist, and young and mostly apathetic counter-culture. He is an Integral Hacker.
The same skills used naturally by Mr. Thieme are used by integral leaders like Brett Thomas, co-founder of the Stagen Leadership Institute, to recognize a person’s worldview, determine what stage of development they are likely to identify with and then communicated with them on that level (4). An integralist would call this “skillful means” but hackers call it a subtle form of social engineering. Social engineering has a slightly negative connotation as it is usually associated with manipulation rather than enhanced communication.
As a complete method of hacking people, integral hacking goes way beyond mere social engineering and into Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP) techniques. This subject was also discussed at DEFCON 14. Brad Smith of Computer Institute of the Rockies discussed how law enforcement, FBI and other three letter agencies use NLP during interviews and interrogations (2). Full spectrum people hacking would include all of the NLP “physiological lock picking” techniques to get full access the root of ego.
Past DEFCON speakers touching on the outer reaches of wetware and integral hacking have included Thieme’s, “Hacking a Trans-Planetary Net” which touched on the need for hacking to include “an artist’s imagination, an obsessive hunger for knowledge, and a deep understanding of cyborg humanity” (1). Former hacker Susan Thunder spoke on “Social Engineering and Psychological Subversion of Trusted Systems” which was about infiltrating a company without physical or digital access (3). People are the weakest part of any secure network.
Hackers are the gun slingers of the Wild, Wild Web, living in a world of 20 year old millionaires who have already change the world and actual evil genius’ who are drifting ghosts pilfering the pockets of the ignorant weak. Whether their intentions are holistic or selfish all hackers view ignorance as the greatest sin. The DEFCON prides itself on a borderline dangerous freedom that is fertile ground of both immeasurable brilliance and debauchery of the filthiest sort. It’s the frothiest edge of technological mayhem and creativity. It is on the fringes of every digital-civilizations’ decomposing structures that you will find a culture of complex integral hackers of hardware, software or wetware growing and sending out spores.
1. DEFCON. (July 28, 1999). DEFCON 4 Archive. Retrieved November 18, 2006, from http://defcon.org
2. DEFCON. (August 6, 2006). DEFCON 14. Retrieved November 18 2006,
3. DEFCON. (July 28, 1999). DEFCON 3 Archive. Retrieved November 18, 2006, from http://defcon.org
4. Integral Leadership Review. Biography of Brett Thomas. Retrieved November 18, 2006,
Thieme Works. (2001). Keynotes, Workshops and Retreats. Retrieved November 18 2006,
My message to Brad the Integral Designer at Brad Lauster dot com:
I have been thinking of implementing Ken’s 4 quadrant approach to my profession, Information Security, as well. I still need to fill out my understanding of the AQAL method, but so far I imagine seeing applying what Ken calls “quadrivia” to the concept of a security network. So I guess I’d have to consider the network as a holon (whole part among other wholes) defined by the four quadrants (perspectives that define the network). What is incredible is that it forces me to think in terms of a network only as people see it: individual users, the organization who owns the network (from the inside and outside), and the world (lower-right?). Its almost like puting it in my hand and observing it from every angle for weakness’ (but I’m seeing it as if I am a four dimensional being because I can see the INSIDE as well).
Like I said, this requires that I have more knowledge of AQAL.