Inception and Information Security

“What’s the most resilient parasite? An Idea. A single idea from the human mind can build cities. An idea can transform the world and rewrite all the rules. Which is why I have to steal it.”

These are the words of Dom Cobb, a skilled thief and the central character in the recently release movie Inception (IMDB Rating 9.3/10). This makes it even better than director Christopher Nolan’s last masterpiece, The Dark Knight. However, this time her has come up with a completely original idea which he has translated into a spectacular film.

The movie seems to be set in a futuristic time, although it isn’t infested by androids and flying cars. The world look and feel of the world is just the routine what we see around us. But the thing that changes is “valuables”. In the past, valuables were gold bars and diamonds and all other precious stones, and entire nations would be wasted in a war due to this “stuff”. The times have changed; today the most valuable asset is information, and we infosec people struggle hard to protect it. And if we go to the “simplest form” of an information, it is an idea. So what will happen if your idea is stolen? Or, How will you protect that? This is what the movie is all about. Of course I am not going to reveal the story because you won’t like it.

So why relate Inception with information security? As I said above, information <=> idea. e.g. you might have landed here on this page because may be you searched something in a search engine. So, do you remember how you got here? What was the search string you entered, by which you landed here? If you get it, you have found your idea. But if I take (or more properly, steal) that idea, and other preceding as well as subsequent ideas from you, I can be able to decode your thinking pattern and predict your next thought. Sounds familiar, right? This is nothing but Social Engineering, the age-old art of hacking in which you require minimal tools or no tools at all!

A good quote from the movie was: “If we create something like a secret vault or a safe place to store things, people will store what is precious for them in there.” (these are not the exact words, I saw it in a cinema hall). Social Engineers will find a new way to extract information from this words. Or have they been doing it already??

Anyway, the point is, go and watch Inception. It’s a movie worth watching twice or thrice; makes you think a lot while watching it, too.

I have so many observations in the film but then I don’t want to reveal any spoilers. So may be a month later I’ll write a new post related to it.

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