NEW YORK — The computer systems that run our world — the ones that secure our financial information, protect our privacy and even keep our power grid running — all have a critical, unpatchable weakness.It is the humans who use them.As the toll of data breaches and hacks mounts, and the spectre of a "cyber Pearl Harbour" looms, it is worth asking: how do we defend against a breach not of our computers, but our minds?This problem has plagued every network since the dawn of connectivity, says Maria Konnikova, author of the new book The Confidence Game, an investigation of the minds and methods of con artists.Almost as soon as there were wires, there was wire fraud.Fred and Charley Gondorf, two brothers who operated in New York around the turn of the 20th century, orchestrated a scheme in which they convinced people that a disgruntled telegraph operator would tip them to results of horse races before the information reached betting houses.Of course, there was no disgruntled operator — j...

BL Premium

This article is reserved for our subscribers.

A subscription helps you enjoy the best of our business content every day along with benefits such as exclusive Financial Times articles, ProfileData financial data, and digital access to the Sunday Times and Times Select.

Already subscribed? Simply sign in below.



Questions or problems? Email helpdesk@businesslive.co.za or call 0860 52 52 00. Got a subscription voucher? Redeem it now