“Cambridge v Cambridge” Obama and Cameron engage in a cyber-game competition

January 24, 2015

Paul Hinks

War GamesPresident Barack Obama and David Cameron’s agreement to conduct a cybersecurity War Game recognises the very real threat from co-ordinated online targeted attacks

In what is being dubbed as a “Cambridge v. Cambridge” hackathon, Massachusetts Institute of Technology [MIT, of Cambridge, Mass] will go head to head with the University of Cambridge [of Cambridge, England] in a multi-day cybersecurity hackathon where each team will try to outwit its opponent.

After the Sony cyber-attack

The BBC reported the background to the cyber initiative:

The Cybersecurity war games come in the wake of the recent hacking of Sony Pictures’ computers and the US military’s Central Command’s Twitter feed. This posted comments promoting Islamic State (IS) militants.

The cyber-attack on Sony Pictures led to data being leaked from its computers exposing emails and personal details about staff and its movie stars. The hackers, who called themselves #GOP or Guardians of Peace, also threatened Cinema chains planning to screen Sony’s satirical North Korean comedy. The plot of The Interview involves a bid to assassinate the country’s leader Kim Jong-un.

Sony initially cancelled the film’s release after leading US cinema groups said they would not screen it, a move which Mr Obama later described as “a mistake”.

Leaderless Groups and Anonymous

The manner in which online ‘hackers’ collaborate, and distribute their powerbase deserves closer inspection. ‘Anonymous’ is one example of a self-proclaimed ‘leaderless’ group of dispersed individuals labelled as ‘hackers’ for their various well-publicised distributed denial of service attacks.

Anonymous joins the Je Suis Charlie solidarity campaign

Anonymous recently announced that they would target ISIS websites in response to the Charlie Hebdo attack, They’ve already claimed to have had some level of success. The social distribution of multiple leaders does create a powerful and cohesive force – one which can be used for ‘good’ or ‘bad’ – attacking those who are perceived to hold alternative values from their own.

Improving cybersecurity

Obama and Cameron’s initiative may well provide new levels of cybersecurity research, testing current best practice while also creating debate and discussion about how best to protect against future online threats. The initiative needs to look beyond the technical aspects of cyber-attacks and also explore the social dynamics of how online distributed Communities operate.

Acknowledgements

Author Paul Hinks is a regular subscriber to LWD. He blogs on technology, innovation, and social media. His post on Apple, CSR and Leadership is regularly the most visited of the year on LWD.

Thanks and welcome also to our new production assistant Conor Glean.


Sony cancels plans for the film The Interview after cyber-attacks and terrorism threats

December 18, 2014

The Interview will be remembered for the wrong reasons

The story itself seems one straight out of a Hollywood movie. A comedy is planned about the assassination of a political dictator. The computer records of the production company are seriously hacked by a mysterious group. This is followed by threats of terrorism by the same hacking group on cinema audiences. The company cancels its planned release.

Fact or fiction?

The above is as they say ‘based on real life events’ which took place in December 2014. In the real-life version, according to The Telegraph, a hacking group, which uses the name Guardians of the Peace [GOP] ‘issued threats against movie-goers and cinemas and invoked the memory of the September 11, 2001 terrorist atrocities’.

The same group had caused considerable security breaches at Sony over the last few weeks, with potentially serious financial and personal consequences. The GOP group is considered to have originated in North Korea.

Cinema chains initiated their own actions in cancelling any showing of the film. This would have contributed to Sony’s actions.

Pre-release reviews suggest the film appeals at a scatological level. The Guardian commented: ‘Rarely outside the playground has there been this much giddy conversation about the digestion process. Sphincters, buttocks and all that navigate these byways should get third billing next to Seth Rogen and James Franco in this dirty Hope and Crosby-style film about assassinating Kim Jong-un’.

A Significant or trivial event?

This is a trivial event in a week when a monstrous attack on a school in Peshawar in Pakistan resulted in the butchering of over hundred school children and their teachers.

The relative triviality of banning a film is amplified by the reactions in America, which themselves illustrate the adage of the reality of fear of violence. That is not to deny some significance to the whole incident, and the sense we make of it.

December 20th 2014

US claims it has evidence of implication of N Korea which denies the accusation and proposes a joint investigation.

To be continued


Hawkeye wins goal-line battle in England

April 12, 2013

Goal Control technologyThe Hawkeye subsidiary of Sony wins the battle for supplying goal line technology in England, after losing out to Goal Control for the World Cup

You heard it here first. LWD has been monitoring the entrepreneurial leadership at Hawkeye, long before it was taken over by Sony. Our students have predicted its diversification into football monitoring technology since the takeover.

A surprise defeat

Last week, we reported a surprise defeat [April 3rd 2012] in its efforts to provide its well-established system for the forthcoming Football World Cup in Brazil. The victor was an even younger and less well-known German organization known as Goal Control.

After a defeat, victory

Yesterday, [April 11th 2012] The Premier League clubs announced that they would be using the Hawkeye system next season to prevent goal-line errors. The Lampard ‘goal that wasn’t’ [England versus Germany, World Cup 2012] has been mentioned as a contributing factor in the decision to accept the new technology. I assume it was a rational decision to chose the UK [Japanese] system over the German one…

On slips cups and lips

If I may be permitted another editorial cliché, there may be many a slip between the [World] cup and lip. Or at least between winning the first battles and winning the war for competitive leadership in football. Goal Line technology is seen as no more than a first-stage in the process of change in football.

Updates

This is an updatable blog. Fresh information will be supplied as it emerges.


Hawk-Eye gobbled up by Sony. Is this a good strategic match?

March 8, 2011

Hawk-eye, the tiny innovative sports technology firm, has been gobbled up by the global giant Sony. There is considerable appeal for large firms to acquire creative talent. But is this a good strategic match?

At first sight, the takeover of Hawk-Eye by Sony [March 2011] has marketing logic behind it. Sony has successfully diversified through sophisticated technological innovation in the electronic games market. It has recently announced a deal to deliver 3D at the next Wimbledon tennis championships. The move comes at a time when Sony is preparing to announce a major internal restructuring

The tiny firm Hawk-Eye is synonymous with a technological capability in the sports market and has niche market leadership in tracking devices used as decision-support systems. Intuitively, there seems synergy with Sony’s play station technological knowhow in its competition with Nintendo.

The firm is also well-placed to be the official supplier of such a system for Football, although the debate over the use of goal-line technology still rages on.

Paul Hawkins

Dr Paul Hawkins is the entrepreneur behind the Hawk-Eye system. He has been associated with the firm since its inception, and has some backing from the cricketing establishment. Initial reports suggest he will continue to play a part in the development of the technology within the mighty Sony empire.

Sports technology

The Hawk-Eye official website summarises its sports technology focus:

Hawk-Eye is the most sophisticated officiating tool used in any sport. It is accurate, reliable and practical: fans now expect and demand it to be a part of every event. Hawk-Eye first made its name in Cricket broadcasting, yet the brand has diversified into Tennis, Snooker and Coaching. Hawk-Eye is currently developing a system for Football (Soccer).

In Tennis the technology is an integral part of the ATP, WTA and ITF tennis tours, featuring at the Masters Cup in Shanghai, the US Open, the Australian Open, the Wimbledon Championships and all high-profile events. Hawk-Eye is the only ball-tracking device to have passed stringent ITF testing measures.

Hawk-Eye’s Cricket systems were used by host broadcasters at the 2006 ICC Champions Trophy, the 2007 World Cup and have been present at major Test and ODI series around the world since 2001. Hawk-Eye offers a unique blend of innovation, experience and accuracy that has revolutionised the sporting world.

When large firms acquire creative minnows

There is considerable appeal for large firms to acquire creative talent. The business model is to provide resources that are often needed to support creative growth. The small firm escapes the hazards of dealing with venture capitalists and other equally demanding sources of finance. In practice, the process may prove unpalatable for the entrepreneur unaccustomed to large company structures and politics.

Entrepreneurship and retailing: The Grigor McClelland Conference

This post was prepared as part of the celebrations planned for The Grigor McClelland Conference to be held at Manchester Business School, Friday April 8th, 2011.