Hackernoon logoSecurity: Unlearning is a possibility, but is undoing? by@prahaladbelavadi

Security: Unlearning is a possibility, but is undoing?

Prahalad Belavadi Hacker Noon profile picture

@prahaladbelavadiPrahalad Belavadi

This article talks about the implications of threats with regard to social engineering based on predictability of human behavioral patterns.

As we approach a new subject, there are a multitude of biases that impact our learning of this new subject. Unlearning portions of previously conceived beliefs are considered to be among the hardest aspects of this learning process. It is possible, albeit hard, it is certainly possible.

There exist some subjects to gain mastery or much less even a basic understanding of, you’ll need to understand the prerequisites of other or gain mastery in other fields.

Security is one such field.

Understanding Security practises require that you know how processes occur in the system and how to thwart or exploit or attempt to exploit the system.

As is for a person to become a blacksmith, it isn’t feasible for a person that hasn’t seen or been burnt in fire to understand its power to smelt and carve steel. The blacksmith hasn’t had any skin in the game to understand how weapons are made and hence is unfit for making weapons without understanding the dynamics of fire and heat.

Very similarly, as someone approaches the field of security, they reach out to the world of information on internet.

Unless you already have some background on security or privacy concerns and were good at absolving code, you will certainly leave a digital fingerprint of a trail.

Using explorer, Microsoft collects your data.
Using chrome, Google collects your data.
Using Instagram, Facebook collects your data.

Internet isn’t a gallore for a single sole purpose but rather there is so much more available in terms of value that’s being provided. 
It is not uncommon to get carried away.

Much less, by the time you choose your fields, cross sections of some, leading to a convoluted tryst with random walks of fields in tech where you stumble upon security; the probability of this happening is skewed.

People in the tech, development domain are eventually more likely to find their way here provided their common interests are aligned somewhere unlike a designer or a marketer whose interests do not align. 
Completely validated.

So as a person approaches the subject of security, they learn about best practises and basic indicators such as masking one’s trail of accessing the internet and their trail while online.

However, for the person to achieve this state of awareness as to what’s happening, he has already given up substantial behavioural data to people that are collecting, watching and observing his every move on digital sphere.

Information is much more vital in the digital warfare scenario.

Lack of information is very crucial as to deciding the course of this war, much more so that all the infantry men, weapons and strategists all put together from the early days.

Information is king.

Say a person after gaining awareness, does change himself and his habits to absolve himself from the prying eyes of giant corporations that seep into his very existence, but does that change anything about who he was before ?

The behavioural data already exists.

If someone knows, you had pizza at the local mom and pop shop by the corner, every friday for the last 15 years, it is highly unlikely that’s going to change.
Even if you decides to leaving all things that track you and so forth.

Given sufficient quantifiable information, we are among the most predictive beings on this planet.
We are our worst enemy when it comes to being predictable.

Call this a simple cipher text attack after analysing the frequency of the keyspace.
The frequency of Behavioural patterns exist within the keyspace and by analysis of such over a long period of time, there is only so many existential cipher outputs in this seemingly complex but a very straightforward world.

Everyday, we succumb to the rules and numerous walks of life amidst our society. 
We are tamed animals. 
More so in real life and on digital sphere as well.

In this learning process, can we certainly unlearn, but can we undo ?
Can we reverse our actions that’s delved into by outsiders knowing much more about ourselves than that of we do ourself ?

Sun Tzu, in Art of war, describes the importance of knowing thy enemy.

We are our greatest enemy. Thanks to predictability.

Nevertheless, the only respite is to invent oneself over and over again.

Or if at all you decide to hold a secret, would you hold it dear as Alfred did in Prestige ?
Would you really forsake a chance to be yourself ?
A chance to emancipate your own identity.

All this reminds me of a secpt from my favourite poem, IF by Rudyard Kipling:

If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
And never breathe a word about your loss;
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: ‘Hold on!’

Your strength lies in your ability to innovate and be unpredictable.

Your ability to morph and step into alternate identities seamlessly are what protects you.

Be free.

These are exciting times.
There is so much left to be unraveled that it sometimes scares me.
Right until when euphoria takes over.

— Prahalad Belavadi


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