As predicted by Kaspersky Labs at the start of last year, 2014 was the year of cyber-insecurity. However, just because it’s a new year doesn’t mean the threats are gone. A post from the Wired staff claims to list the most dangerous people on the Internet right now, but are these threats really all that dangerous?
Top of the list, unsurprisingly, is the NSA. Throughout recent years, the NSA has been painted as the biggest threat to Internet users. According to the article:
[I]nstalling backdoors in products, weakening encryption standards and algorithms, hacking entire telecom networks and tapping the undersea cables of private companies like Google and Yahoo show just how dangerous and out of control the agency can be.
However, increased encryption could very well cut the NSA out of the loop, and companies are implementing these procedures with excluding the NSA from the data as a top priority. The NSA itself admits there are encryption methods that it has difficulty cracking. In time, the threat from the NSA could diminish greatly.
Other threats include the Harris Corporation and the U.S. Marshals Service, which are apparently working together to use fake cell towers to capture user data. But to combat those sorts of attacks, we’ve seen the rise of products like Snoopstitch — a service that tells users if their communications are being tapped.
Other concerns range from Cody Wilson, the inventor of the world’s first 3D-printed gun, North Korea and its hackers, and Amir Taaki, the developer of DarkMarket and Dark Wallet — decentralized Bitcoin tools for dark web trade. Indeed, the Sony hack met very little in the way of resistance, and the Bitcoin market could be much too volatile to sustain itself.
The last of the big threats are Verto, a supposed dark web kingpin who runs the Tor Carding Forum, and Preet Bharara, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, the man that’s been prosecuting hackers and cybercriminals.
The problem with declaring these individuals as dangerous is the dark web itself. Bharara had not yet convicted alleged Silk Road 1.0 admin Ross Ulbricht, even while alleged Silk Road 2.0 admin Blake Benthall has been taken into custody. If Verto is now running the largest credit card number exchange on the dark web, it doesn’t matter if they are arrested, because as we’ve seen time and again, the dark web will spawn another marketplace.
Still, the list makes sense: Kim Jong Un did have a big impact on the Internet and wider markets, and the NSA intercepting user data will continue as a big issue for Internet users. However, as stories like these comes to light, the Internet adapts. No matter your perspective on the dangers of the Internet, it doesn’t look like there will ever be a clear winner in these fights. So don’t panic.