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Exploring the world of cyber security

AAP logoAAP 30/12/2016 Danielle McGrane

Ben Makuch bravely delves into the geopolitics of hacking and surveillance in the Viceland show Cyberwar.

The journalist travels the world to meet hackers, government officials and dissidents to investigate the ecosystem of cyberwarfare in the show which sprang out of a conversation he had with a colleague.

"I'm very good friends with the developer of the show and he was also an editor of mine when I was working at Vice as a print reporter," Makuch said.

"We thought to ourselves 'What's the show that's super nerdy but is what we really want to watch?' And we essentially said we would love to do stuff on cyberwarfare and hacking and geopolitics."

He spends a lot of his time talking to hackers and people who work below the surface of what most of us consider normal, everyday life. He admits it's definitely made him view the world differently.

"It's made me understand information security in a different way," he said.

"It's very vulnerable at this point. I would say the way our information is stored and saved favours attackers versus defenders. It's important that everyone kind of wakes up and understands what this is about and we begin to take some of these breaches more seriously."

Makuch has found out just how easy it is to hack someone's computer, or access their webcam. So with this show, he hopes people start to become aware of just how easy it is to have their cyber security breached.

"We can't be thinking 'this is a fringe, guy-in-a-hoodie, problem that nobody has.' This is something that is now an aspect of our society, cyber security," he said.

"We have to understand that it can no longer be this nebulous thing that everyone's kind of afraid of, or they kind of understand.

"You have to understand that you have to two-step verify your social media account and you need to start protecting yourself and understanding what a network is and understand just basic cybersecurity habits.

"That's something that I hope happens from the show that people start to understand this and that it becomes less foreign to them. "

* Cyberwar airs on SBS Viceland and is available on SBS On Demand

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