A week of firsts it is then. This blog was created a few months ago, today finally a first real post. The reason to create the blog was to have a space for short comment pieces which didn’t make it into external sites, I’ll add posts later pointing at the pieces that did get published elsewhere, of which there have been a fair few recently,
The other “first” was that I was advised to open a Twitter account for the Kent Cyber Security Research Centre to publicize our activities. I’d searched Twitter occasionally in the past, but now I’ve also opened an account @KentCyberSec. This needed a “profile picture” which couldn’t be me, couldn’t be the non-existent logo of the centre (suggestions welcome!), and I didn’t want it to be one of the standard images such as this. Instead I used the image below. No one has asked yet why, but this blog post is dedicated to answering anyway!
On my recent visit to Hyderabad (Andhra Pradesh, India), I visited the ancient and well-known Golconda Fort, a Unesco world heritage site. It was started in the 13th century, and heavily fortified from the 16th century onwards. The picture above shows a water pipe from that era, part of the extensive system to ensure that in case of a siege the fort’s inhabitants would not run out of water. Several reservoirs like the one pictured below would be pumped full by camels driving pumps at the ground level.
In 1687, the Muslim king Abul Hasan Qutb Shah ruled the Golconda fort, and the Mughal emperor Aurangzeb besieged the fort. The fort held out for 8 months, thanks to its food supplies, water supply infrastructure, and extensive fortifications. The fall of the fort after 8 months was because the officer Sarandaz Khan in the Qutb Shahi’s army was bribed and opened a secret door.
The security lesson from 1687 is thus a very familiar one, about weakest links and insider attacks …