This is not about an alcoholic taking his 12 steps three times with 3 breaks. This is about a 1935 movie. An absolute masterpiece by Alfred Hitchcock. It is also one if the first exposures by Tinseltown of the use of industrial espionage. Over time there would be more cases and more events, yet the stage I saw today ‘Twitch confirms massive data breach’ (source: BBC) made me think of the earliest steps in that direction. Even as we are given “it comes at a time when competitors such as YouTube Gaming are offering huge salaries to snap up gaming talent, so the fallout could be significant.” This does not mean that Google was behind it, yet the larger stage is that Industrial espionage is at the seat of many corporations and these corporations have absolutely no idea what they are in for. There are no checks, no balances and at this point Twitch is in a stage where they could lose the bulk of their value overnight. So as I read “Twitch confirmed the breach and said it was “working with urgency” to understand the extent of it” I see a stage where a company was clueless and now less of a clue where their money will go in November 2021.
Even as I think back to the 39 steps and the momentous line “The 39 Steps is an organization of spies, collecting information on behalf of the foreign office of…the design for a silent aircraft engine” but the one step they did not have in those days was the disgruntled employee. They can do in one hour more damage then Baker at MI-6 or Evans at MI-5 can do in a month, and companies are just not ready to take a larger setting of cyber and internal investigations serious. Fell free to doubt me and call +44 1242 221491 (GCHQ), they probably have a few leaflets and other information that will make any CTO cry like a little chihuahua.
The problem how to go about it, as I see it it will be too late for Twitch, Microsoft was done for a long time ago and Google is one of the few who has a decent handle on cyber security. Yet the nightmare is actually a lot worse. To grasp this we merely need to take a look at ‘Industrial Espionage: Criminal or Civil Remedies’ by Gillian Dempsey (at https://www.aic.gov.au/sites/default/files/2020-05/tandi106.pdf) the quote “Australian companies should be mindful that competitors, and nations which might be hosts to Australian investment, may have a strong interest in Australian trade secrets and other economic intelligence. Although its incidence and prevalence are unknowable, industrial espionage by governments and private sector institutions is a fact of contemporary commercial life. Recent developments in the technology of intercepting communications make such activities easier to undertake and more difficult to detect than in the past.” There are a few issues and the biggest one is partnerships, find in that partnership two disgruntled employees on both sides of the fence and that company is pretty much doomed. Even if the law becomes adequate, the rules of evidence will get in the way because the bulk of ALL companies have a lovely disregard of non-repudiation, and the third party exploiting the two angry people will laugh all the way to his zero tax haven (Cayman Islands anyone?) And that stage will grow and grow, because there is a board room believe that their company will not get into that, all whilst they cannot see the pie chart as the chunky blubbernaut in the room ate it. And the game gets to go from bad to nasty, with cryptocurrency the appeal for many increases whilst the ability to find the people involved goes from tiny to a number approximating zero and the law is not ready, it hasn’t been ready for several years and as sources give us “One of the reasons why corporations engage in industrial espionage is to save time as well as huge sums of money. After all, it can take years to bring products and services to market and the costs can add up.” This is true but it is the setting that several people who were dismissed ended up with huge starting bonuses whilst being as productive as the janitors paperweight in that new company. So when did you get $675,000 a year with a startup bonus of $3,500,000 plus a piece of real estate in the Cayman Islands for surfing Facebook all day long? That is the setting that some companies face and until they adjust the safety in their firms, they are the companies with huge neon lights and the neon phrase ‘sucker’ right next to it. I was taught about non-repudiation at Uni 14 years ago and so far the amount of companies taking it serious is just as close to zero as the people getting convicted of it.
So whilst the media is flaming the $13,000,000 total twitch payments, we are all looking in the wrong direction. We see one side, and this might have been by disgruntled people (my speculation) but it was an attack of a side that Amazon had decently solidified, so what comes next and when will it impact something that YOU depend on? There was a lesson and it was handed to the people in 1935, so why did the decision makers not take the essential steps?
Perhaps they were done in some places but there is at present no evidence that any were done.