In the last week of September, some of the GPC team experienced some of the physical parallels of familiar cyber concepts.
When the mouth of a river (in this case, the Rio Guardiaro) is blocked by a sandbar from flowing into the sea, the balance of nature is upset. This was very apparent to us during the last week as we witnessed swarming and dead fish, plus the rising levels of stagnant water.
Due to recent human changes to the coastline, according to the locals, this happens frequently and has required action by local authorities. But on this occasion, no action was being taken so a random group of tourists, including ourselves and new friends from Albania, Italy, UK and Spain, decided to engineer a breach in the barrier to restore the natural equilibrium - at least temporarily.
As we dug, we discussed how this related to the cyber world. In my case, I am more familiar with phishing than fishing. And here we were creating a positive form of breach, unlike the ones we normally defend against.
We also realised how futile and temporary our fight was against the might of tons of sand and the rising tide. We even gave our efforts a nickname: the “Guardiaro Gulag” – i.e. a labour which would soon be undone.
Yet something had to be done – and quickly.
To our delight, the next day, we realised that it had been enough to trigger a response by the regional council, thus averting a potential environmental catastrophe. Mechanical diggers were creating a more substantial breach that would allow the waters to meet properly again, thus restoring life to the local river ecosystem so important to the region.
Reflecting upon this, we feel that teamwork, persistence and initiative can achieve great things for the public and environmental good.
In a similar way, there are lessons for us on the cyber-security front too: we must not give up and remember every little effort you apply to the defence against cybercrime and cyber-warfare can be significant.
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