I was thinking of a subject to write for this blog and, after going to church, thought about how the Bible might have had some prognostications to the computer age. I have heard many people talk about how the Book of Revelations predicted the internet (the “number of the beast” or 666 translates to “www” according to the Hebrew language), but were there any phrases in the Bible that might relate to our current cybersecurity efforts today?
Unfortunately, after some effort trying to put in search terms like “router” or “password” or “authenticate” or other such words, I found nothing in my version of the Bible (King James version), but some other words did hit on some interesting phrases.
The first word was “network.” This one brought up some interesting references, especially in the Book of Isaiah, where in Chapter 19, verse 9 it says “moreover…they that weave networks shall be confounded.” I just thought this was such an interesting phrase, since the more complex the computer network, the easier it is to defeat that network. In the same way that having a large area of land is tough to patrol for intruders, the network “land area” (or “LAN area” if you like puns) is tough to patrol for cyber intruders as your network becomes more expansive. This one did raise my eyebrows slightly because of the applicability to today’s cyber environment.
Network was also used in the Book of Kings, where in 1 Kings, Chapter 7, verse 18, it says “…and he made the pillars, and two rows round about upon the one network…” This could be interpreted as a type of computer network, where it is both hierarchical and peer-to-peer, some of which are used today. It could also refer to firewalls or DMZs, which could stand as pillars to block intruders from entering the network. I know, I am stretching, but the fact that this phrase even exists in the Bible is interesting if nothing else.
The second word that I found was “host.” Now, in the Bible, at least from my reading, host is just that: some person or some entity that is in charge of the tribe or family. There was an interesting phrase in the Book of Judges, where in Chapter 8, verse 11, it states that someone “…smote the host; for the host was secure.” This is probably the one phrase that pertains the most to cybersecurity. Why would anyone try to defeat a system that is already defeated? The challenge to defeating a system is to overcome the security; to aim the intrusion against something that is reported to be “unsinkable.” What better way to make a name for yourself as an intruder than to defeat a secure host.
Okay, all this is hyperbole, I realize that. It is interesting to note that maybe the Bible was not predicting the internet or the computer age, but that something written as long ago as this reference can be adapted to something as new as the computer security arena. It was a fun exercise, but it is much more than that to me. It means that users are the ones that operate and maintain computers, computer networks, and computer security. If the people are not considered in the equation, we are really not considering the entire formula. By personifying computers through use of the Bible, I hope to bring us all back to the basic as IT professionals. We MUST consider the users (and the intruders who are also users) in the big IT picture. The past is the future.