Security ceremonies still fail despite decades of efforts by researchers and practitioners. Attacks are often a cunning amalgam of exploits for technical systems and of forms of human behaviour. For example, this is the case with the recent news headline of a large-scale attack against Electrum Bitcoin wallets, which manages to spread a malicious update of the wallet app. The author therefore sets out to look at things through a different lens.
The author makes the (metaphorical) hypothesis that humans arrived on Earth along with security ceremonies from a very far planet, the Cybersecurity planet. The author’s hypothesis continues, in that studying (by huge telescopes) the surface of Cybersecurity in combination with the logical projection on that surface of what happens on Earth is beneficial for us earthlings.
The author has spotted four cities so far on the remote planet. Democratic City features security ceremonies that allow humans to follow personal paths of practice and, for example, make errors or be driven by emotions. By contrast, security ceremonies in Dictatorial City compel to comply, hence humans here behave like programmed automata. Security ceremonies in Beautiful City are so beautiful that humans just love to follow them precisely. Invisible City has security ceremonies that are not perceivable, hence humans feel like they never encounter any. Incidentally, the words “democratic” and “dictatorial” are used without any political connotation.
A key argument the author shall develop is that all cities but Democratic City address the human factor, albeit in different ways. In the light of these findings, the author will also discuss security ceremonies of our planet, such as WhatsApp Web login and flight boarding, and explore room for improving them based upon the current understanding of Cybersecurity.
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