Closing the Pandora’s Inbox: How Greek Mythology Connects with Cybersecurity

There are many life lessons that can be learned from Greek mythology, but can the same be said for cybersecurity? Short answer, yes!
This is what Maya Horowitz, Director of Threat Intelligence & Research at Check Point, explored in her highly engrossing “Hacking like a Greek Goddess” session at the virtual Check Point Experience APAC event held recently.

When the Greek Titan Prometheus stole fire from Zeus and gave it to humankind, it led to many consequences and repercussions to the world. (Much like the Internet, and all the good and bad things that come with it.)
Zeus, in his wrath, punished the Titan, as well as humanity in the form of Pandora and her box. Pandora’s Box introduced diseases and disasters to the world, along with “hope”, which Zeus has placed to ensure that humans would not have a premature end to their suffering. For Maya, the modern Pandora’s Box can translate to our inboxes.
“It would be full of malicious things and attachments, but why do we keep falling victim to phishing attacks? Hope. It keeps us thinking that although we do not remember ordering anything, this package might be a gift and we need to make sure our address is correct”, said Maya, mentioning that this was especially the case during the pandemic.
In fact, 2020 recorded an over 80% increase in malware and phishing attacks, using malicious emails aimed at exploiting people’s curiosity and uncertainty during the pandemic. The emails may say it would give information about the virus, financial relief programs or even early access to the vaccine.
Another analogy between Greek mythology and cybersecurity is the story of Troy and the hero Achilles. There are Trojan viruses that deploy malware hidden inside an unsuspicious object and threat actors that target a software’s ‘Achilles’ heel’, or its vulnerability.
“Check Point research aims at finding the Achilles’ heel of different software and hardware. But instead of shooting at it or poisoning it, we take it ‘back to the river’ during the responsible coordinated disclosure and work with the vendor on patching the vulnerable part”, added Maya.
According to her, every technology, be it cloud, network or mobile, has its own Achilles’ heel that needs to be protected from a hacker’s poisonous arrows.
To end her presentation, Maya said that when given the Internet, we were given the choice between right and wrong – between education, communication and e-commerce to hacking, stealing and deceiving. “Between Check Point and the threat actors. We always choose good and keep pushing that boulder up the hill and hope to serve your security means through our solutions”.

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