I saw the 20th year anniversary showing of The Matrix in the theater a few weeks back with my wife. The movie is credited both as one of the greatest confirmations of conspiracy theories of all time, as well as the birth of revolutionary technology that now is commonly used every day.
Working in tech, I remember a friend joking with me 20 years ago that I went to “see a movie about work.” At the time I thought it was an insult….and at the time, I had no idea how true that comment would become. The concept of programs running, artificial intelligence becoming mainstream, the birth of machine species and an all-powerful malicious program that seems centrally controlled by an unknown being one second and then polymorphs into a self-replicating virus the next. Sounds like the daily news…
The Oracle had a small, but important role in the movie. (No parallel from Larry’s Oracle here, right?). She was more interested in ‘knowing‘ the future than ‘telling’ the future, and every word she spoke, was purposeful. Nothing was more powerful than when she told Neo “don’t worry about the vase,” before he broke it, leading to one of the most provocative quotes in the movie, “what’s really going to bake your noodle later on is, if you would have still broken it if I hadn’t said anything.” wow… powerful.
So much about this movie has always spoken to me…but now more than ever. The pace of technology is faster than it has ever been; and it’s still accelerating. Every day, it seems, there is something new, a new powerhouse emerging or a different way of going to market. Cyberwarfare has become a distinct realm for war and is also used to combat conventional warfare tactics and conventional tactics are being used right back (bombing the building where the hackers are attacking you from). Too bad an EMP to combat cyber threats hasn’t been installed in our hovercrafts yet… maybe a worthwhile tweet to Elon Musk as an addition to the SpaceX Package for the Roadster.
But this brings us to the very important recognition, for this moment in time, while we still know when now is in 2019. For years, security was a ’nice-to-have’ function buried inside of IT. Excess budget (what is that?) was used to fund security projects, and that was the funding first to get cut. Applications were built over months and years, then handed to security to “make it secure” in some cases, just hours before going live. The days of building walls around our data centers are over…As wonderful as Zion is, do we really want to live in the center of the earth?
Matt Stamper, EVOTEK CISO, Executive Advisor and published author, wrote an article about the overload of choice in cybersecurity today. There are over 3,000 companies providing cybersecurity solutions; and growing. His article goes on to pose the question, “If you could incorporate 5 security technologies into your environment, what would they be and why?” The Security Manager of the past would be building a 3-year roadmap where technologies were layered in, properly timed with training and maturity. Today’s progressive CISOs are not so fortunate. A 3-year plan is a good guide, but it’s today’s risk that could comprise everything. We must build the mechanisms for adaptation, reaction and evolution into our strategic plans. With these advances, comes sophistication and complications making technology incredibly hard!! Additionally, the world has produced highly advanced adversaries; cyber criminals, nation state actors and hacktivist collectives. All of which could be an advanced presence in your network already.
Modern protection needs to be architected into the solution delivery lifecycle (security-by-design). The emphasis on enhanced detective and preventative controls shouldn’t be overlooked. Today’s reality calls for secure coded applications, code enabled protections and securely written infrastructure as code solutions. While we’d not recommend this, a properly secured application by-design, could run in the wild without all of the conventional security tools running at the environment level. I heard a good illustrative quote from our Executive Director of Platform Engineering, Dustin Milberg, “Just because you are a careful driver, doesn’t mean you should drive without car insurance.”
Also in the Matrix, during Neo’s trip to see the Oracle, there was a scene with a child you may recall, as it spawned one of the most common catchphrases that has entered our lexicon, “There is no spoon.” This is reference to what’s in our head and how we need to change ourselves, in order to change what exists in our own reality, or further, our perceived reality.
This new world is exciting and opens lots of opportunity; good, evil and sometimes terrifyingly indiscriminate to a human understood moral code. We need to hit this head on and implement modern techniques to fight back against this single consciousness, the machine, that seems to have the upper-hand. I am confident that the bright minds of our time will take the fight to the criminal and indiscriminate.
“You’re afraid of change. I don’t know the future. I didn’t come here to tell you how this is going to end. I came here to tell how it’s going to begin.”
Our Revolution has begun!