We as humans are always looking forward. That is probably why we tend to treat the elderly less favorably than the people in the past did. We have so much of the future right in our face that it is hard to slow down so that we are able to remember what came behind us. When you talk to a lot of kids these days they will tell you that history is their most boring subject (the fools!). Even though the saying, “those who forget the past are doomed to repeat it”, is as true now as it was when it first uttered, people still do not listen. Not even the smart people that make up the world of computer security.
When we think of hackers we tend to think of people who are living on the cutting edge when it comes to technology. They are people who know how to figure out a problem really quickly. No matter if they are on the black hat side or the white hat side, the one trait that both sides have in common is their ability to be able to solve a problem. But sometimes they do not need to use all of that brain power to solve the problem. All they need to do is look at some of the older parts of the internet and get the solution off of there. Believe it or not there are still a lot of old attacks that are in use these days. And even though they are old, these are problems that the good guys still miss.
Old hacks and vulnerabilities are just like they are brand new if the person who is trying to stop them has never heard of them before. It is kind of understandable how that can happen in this day and age. There are thousands of bugs and malware released every day. There is no way that someone is going to be able to keep up with all of them. Something is going to slip by because humans are not computers. And even with a computer, if you do not know what you are looking for then it is easy to let it slip through the cracks.
Another problem with old hacks is that someone can take the same basic idea and just change it enough so that the idea is new again. When you are baking a chocolate cake, you do not have to try and figure out the recipe yourself. You take ingredients that are already known to make good cake and you add your own personal touches to it. This is what a black hat hacker can do to an older attack. They will find the source code for the attack and change it until it suits their needs. Why start over when you can easily modify older code.
A big reason to not forget about hacks of the past is because there is still a lot of old tech lying around out there. And a lot of this tech is still in use for production purposes. From the software to the hardware, you will still see signs of old tech still being used. And not all of this old tech is protected. In recent years there have been many attacks on older POS machines just because of the fact that they ran an older, vulnerable version of the Windows operating system.
Refresh your learning
The one way you will be able to keep up with both the old and the new threats is to make sure that you never stop learning. The world of computers is a fast paced environment to work in. Well at least the world of computer security. So you must be able to keep up with all of the changes that happen on a regular basis. To be able to do that, you need to read up on both future and past threats.
The internet is filled with research material that you can browse through. And the best part about it is that most of its free. You can look at the source code of old malware and see how they were able to do their damage. You can also look at old issues of ezines such as Phrack to see how older attacks were pulled off. Not just from a technical standpoint but from a mental one as well. You can see where other people let their guard down and let the bad guys in. You can then learn from their mistakes and not repeat them yourself.
While you should always press yourself to learn the latest and greatest in the world of tech, you should also not neglect the past. You never know when it is going to come back and haunt you.