Google has been growing exponentially these few years and even more so with the recent Google I/O. They also have a very elaborate business model with plenty of products and services to be offered to users and potential users. Their Google Apps also appeal to the corporate world plenty at this time. So with their extensive reputation and reach in the technologically driven world now, you can say that Google is virtually everywhere and are doing everything. Except, before now the cyber security industry. Welcome to the Project Zero.
Cyber security was significant ten years ago for the protection of computers and software against virus attacks, hacking and things like that. It was significant, but not necessary. It was to some a luxury and to plenty of corporations at the time not so much of use. Why? The world at the time did not totally rely on computers, electronics and the internet. With the rise of the internet generation (or empire, if you might) the world has become more open. Computers and people become more connected and the world is more dependent on these electronic devices that keeps evolving from one end to another. The internet too has become a borderless playground and also an unlimited source of information; a knowledge gateway. With the amount of information kept in the electronic database, it is no wonder that we are relying on the internet and our electronic devices so much. Gone are the days where you have to look to the press companies, news papers, television news and radio for information and world news. Gone are the days where you need to call through a hard line to reach a friend, a parent, a sibling, or anyone that you need to contact for that matter. Your mobile phone lines are much stabler, your smartphones can access the internet virtually everywhere now.
All this comes with a price; the more connected we are, the more vulnerable we are to cyber crimes – stolen private information, viruses, elaborate hacks and plenty of things; cyber criminals get more creative each day. Google, being the technology giant in its industry recognises this issue and therefore initiated the Project Zero (which sounds like a sci-fi movie invention; like a big bomb, or a mission, or something).
Google Project Zero (Cue Music!), what is it? It is a Google initiative in which Mountain View forms a special task force (in layman terms; team) to tackle the issue of internet security. Their mission, protect users on the internet space, make the internet a safer place for users. For years and years Google has a very clean track record in keeping their own products and services as secure as possible. With Project Zero, Google is expanding its services not just to Google protected and maintained products and services but to everyone as well. The team they are forming are a bunch of security geniuses who will commit 100% of their efforts in the cause of the project. With the formation of the team Google is on a hiring spree and recently hired a Playstation 3 network hacker cum security expert, Georhe Hotz a.k.a. Geohot. Sony grabbed him into the company when he showed that he could reverse engineer and hack the Playstation 3 with ease. Now Google will use his expertise in the Project Zero effort. The project though is not designed to focus on particular, individual attacks or viruses. Instead it will focus on other factors such as motives, targets, techniques, and security gaps.
Through this project Google will be as transparent as it can be by detecting and reporting bugs, threats and any other security issues through its blog. if any threats, vulnerabilities and other issues are detected the team will notify the vendor of the site or services that are affected. They will not however fix the issues themselves and allow the vendors themselves to fix the issue. This way users will know how much they can trust the vendors and judge how much these vendors care for its users.
All that aside though the project does sound like a promising one. In hopes for a better internet future it is definitely a project worthy of investments by Google or anyone who does in the first place. We are all users of the internet after all and it will affect all of us in one way or another. So here’s to hoping that the project lives on as Google promised, and make good progress; for a much more secure, safer and more trustworthy internet future.