The Next James Bond Will Be a Nerd

device visibility

A bold statement to make, I’m sure, but reviewing the James Bond series over recent years, that seems to be the logical conclusion.

Disclaimer: I’ve been a huge James Bond fan from young age. For me, the best part in the movies is when James Bond meets Q, who equips him with the coolest gadgets ever. I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but in recent films Q is taking a more active part in completing the mission and defeating the bad guys. This is due to the fact that cyber warfare skills are as important as a charming smile and an unbeatable charisma.

We’ve seen Q hacking (and being hacked himself) and demonstrating cybersecurity supremacy. A future Bond deploying these advanced cyber skills won’t have to leave his office to complete his tasks – obtaining sensitive data, blowing up transformation facilities and causing overall chaos has never been so easy to accomplish. So, in this article I will present Q’s version of classical James Bond scenes, leading to the logical conclusion: Bond is dead, long live Q!

The Spy who Hacked Me

Let’s take the classic car chase – poor Mr. Bond had to jump around while trying to dodge an incoming car or motorcycle, launch himself off bridges, take hard falls and suffer nasty injuries.

Q’s version: Let’s hack into the car’s control unit and drive it off the bridge or into a ditch (and lock the bad guys inside while doing it).

Being chased by the police or the bad guys?

Q’s version: Why not hack to the traffic light system, secure a continuous green-light or create a chaos with conflicting traffic lights?

Identifying a suspect in a crowded train?

Q’s version: Use facial recognition. Ok, Q already did this, but he was too slow (forcing Bond to chase a train and jump on board). However, there is still room for improvement compared with the tight Chinese grip on their urban environment

Want to take down a large IT infrastructure? You can’t do it with bullets.

Q’s version: Prevent Nine Eyes from going online.

You need to blow up a facility? No need to trouble yourself with deadly C4, dramatic countdowns (and a long trip to the Sahara Desert).

Q’s version: Exploit hardware vulnerabilities; cause a generator to overheat or centrifuges to malfunction. Who knows, maybe it was Q behind Stuxnet.

Trying to access someone’s contact information?

Q’s version: Hack into the target’s iCloud account and download all the necessary data. Way more elegant than Bond’s tactics in Casino Royale.

Being tracked by a pack of drones and need to find a place to hide?

Q’s version: Hack into the drones’ communication channel, issue a “home” command and land them all.

A Device to Kill

While focusing on a future cyber-savvy Bond, we need to remember that the bad guys also have ways of taking down countries without shooting a single bullet.

Want to poison the world?

Bad guys’ version: No need for an army or significant funds , just recreate the Florida “water-hack”.

Need funds?

Bad guys’ version: Why not run a payment heist using a Man-in-The-Middle attack over a bank payment system?

Need to quickly raise funds for a terror group in Europe?

Bad guys’ version: Why follow the guide of “Jackpotting ATMs for Dummies”?

For HAC-1’s Eyes Only

What all the above attack vehicles have in common is that they take the easy way in (and out); using hardware devices introduced by internal abusers or supply chain attacks. Moreover, these devices go undetected by existing cybersecurity products as they keep their identity well-hidden on Layer 1. Like true spies, they are persistent, stealthy and go into action when the relevant command gets executed (from M. or from a remote C2C).

Hardware security remains the blind spot in protecting enterprises and government agencies alike – providing a scanning solution that works in large scale deployment is considered to be the holy grail of hardware security. Sepio’s HAC-1 solution brings you one step closer to this with its Zero Trust Hardware Access approach. By using Layer 1 fingerprinting, augmented by an ML-based algorithm, HAC-1 detects ALL your hardware assets, even those trying to hide by spoofing legitimate devices or operating completely passively.  

So, in summary, while technology advancements may push Q to center stage, providing him with hardware-based attack tools to complete his tasks and return home safely (to his two cats), there is a downside. Attackers are, too, enjoying the same technology developments, and this will eventually make the cat and mouse chase an even more challenging one.

Finally, as in every Bond movie, there’s an exotic female figure. Following our transition to Q’s cyber world, we can also offer him a variety of AI bots or humanoids. At least we can guarantee that they will never die on him.