The Real Problem with Cybersecurity…It’s You

Intro — What the Hack!

Computer hacking is nothing new. It’s actually been around since the 1960’s, where some of the first examples involved MIT students creating programming shortcuts to complete tasks more quickly. Then came the Internet, gaining popularity in the early 1990’s, shortly followed by email. Then businesses started using the internet to reach consumers, then Social Media became a thing. Nowadays every site or blog we visit, every service we use, requires us to create a login to join their community of users.

Photo by Daniel Korpai on Unsplash

The Lack of Security in IT & Development

Security isn’t sexy. Honestly, I think it’s the complete opposite. The word sexy is often attributed to something pretty, powerful, shiny, fast, alluring. Now technology can be sexy. Reddit has countless subreddits dedicated to sexy PC “Battlestations” with colorful PCs and keyboards, beautiful code, alluring Desktops displays (UnixPorn being one of my favorites), etc. but security lacks all that appeal.

Have you ever looked at an excessively long password and thought “Damn…look at the characters on that one”? I highly doubt it.

Then comes Development, which has been a “hot” job market in recent years and has lead to many people teaching themselves programming, going to coding boot camps, or studying Computer Science in College. I have many friends and co-workers who work as Software Engineers or Developers and I’ve asked them “Did you have any classes or training around secure coding?”. The resounding answer was “no”.

Photo by Markus Spiske on Unsplash

Desensitized to Data Breach

Data breaches are occurring on a daily, if not hourly, basis now. My biggest concern is that this is desensitizing us to the burden this places on our privacy. We are beginning to accept this on-going information leakage as a way of life. Every time I hear of a major corporation losing millions of records now I just hear Freddie Mercury in the background singing “Another one bites the dust”.

Only You Can Prevent a Breach of Your Data

For anyone that’s ever had their car or home broken into or had their identity stolen, you understand the helplessness that stems from the experience. The day before it happened you probably gave no thought to the possibility of it. What if you could’ve done something then to prevent it from happening? I’d like to believe that you would go out of your way to do so. So why is it that we don’t take this same approach to securing our identity, personal information, and privacy?

When training end users, I like to compare cybersecurity to being chased by a bear in the woods. You don’t have to be the fastest (most secure), you just have to be faster (more secure) than the person next to you.

We’ve become so used to giving up our information that we rarely consider any consequences before typing it out. Going back to the demand for efficiency, we even have systems now to fill in all our personal data for us because we have to enter it so often. We’ve completely automated the operation of giving up our personal data.

Conclusion — Future Thoughts

Your personal information is yours to give out or to keep private. Now, there are certain things that you can’t keep private and I do know that. Even that information you can’t necessarily keep private (Credit bureaus come to mind) there are steps you can take to prevent identity theft from happening. So my suggestion is this, the next time you sign up for an account or fill out some form where you’re giving away your information…don’t. Does that blog really need your email? Does that online shopping site really need you to create an account to buy from it? If so is there not another shopping site you can find that item on?

:( IT Consultant ){ MSIT :|: Cloud & Cybersecurity };: All life is an Experiment. Unless it’s a simulation, then it’s just a MMORPG.

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