Keep it simple

Hacking Security Cyber Privacy

With our penchant for maximising complexity, sometimes when someone truly cuts through the crap and comes up with something stunningly simple, it really makes you see the world in a completely different way.

I had such a moment this afternoon in, of all places on the day the Prime Minister announced her resignation, the Houses of Parliament. As a guest of cybersecurity experts, CNS, we enjoyed drinks and nibbles on the terrace overlooking the Thames, along with some short but interesting presentations from various clever people.

One that stood out for me was from Deep Secure, a company that has turned the whole idea of virus checking on it’s head. Rather than playing constant game of keeping up with all the clever types out there intent on causing tech trouble and making money from inflicting malware-related woes on people and businesses, Deep Secure have done something of a volte-face and gone in a completely different direction.

They realised that more often than not, the payloads for malware are Word/Excel files and PDFs. Rather than wait for people to be infected by a new piece of malware, have it reported and then some clever person work out how to detect it and deactivate it, they thought, well, the original content itself of the file is usually OK, so why not find a way to extract the bit that the person was expecting to receive, the content of the file, and create a clean file on the fly, stripping any nastiness that may be residing there.

Sounds simple, but it’s taken them 14 years to perfect the technology to the stage where it can take files and make clean files that match the original in terms of content in a quick and efficient way. Now they’ve done it, it seems the boffins at GCHQ and the NSA are very, very impressed.

I must admit, once the presentation had ended, my brain was whirring and I spent the next hour trying to reframe the my digital world into this new way of thinking. I didn’t draw any definite conclusions, but I had a good chat with Dan Turner, the CEO of Deep Secure afterwards. He was, quite understandably, very happy with the way things were going for the company. I think they have a very bright future.