This month is National Cybersecurity Awareness Month. Let me be blunt. If you don’t think you are responsible for cybersecurity – you are wrong.
Think about the footsteps you leave in the digital sand, your digital persona, information that you would consider private, valuable and vital. Now, think about how those bits and bytes of data can be used against you, can be taken from you and put to serve nefarious purposes. This is not a science fiction dystopia – this is our world.
To illustrate, let me paint a picture. You have a doctor’s appointment. You show up to the office and check-in on your smartphone, confirming your identity, the time of the appointment and the ailment for which you are being seen. You sit down and – while waiting – you open up your social media platform of choice to pass the time.
Your social media profile lists your friends, their birthdays, the things you like, your political preferences and on and on and on.
While browsing, an ad is presented for something you’re interested in. This ad was served up based on your interests, browsing history and ads that you have clicked on in the past. As such, you are very interested in what is being offered, but you aren’t sure if you can afford it. So before you buy, you open up your banking application to check your balance.
The banking app shows you your current balance in your checking account, your savings account, how much you owe on your credit cards, a long list of recent transactions, where and for how much they were for. You see you have enough for the purchase, flip back over to the advertisement and buy the product. You get called into the office for the doctor and a few days later, your package arrives at your door.
Simple, right? Amazing. It’s the miracle of the modern age.
Now, imagine going through all of that – but rather than it taking place on the privacy of your own screen, it is over the phone and the phone is on speaker. Your ailment is announced to the waiting room. As are the names of all of your friends and your political preferences. Your interests – both private and public – are announced and the things that you want to buy become public knowledge. Your bank account, recent purchases, credit card number and debt are also provided to anyone within the sound of your voice.
Without encryption, without security, without paying attention to the way in which your data is hoovered up, collected and distributed – any passing person who speaks binary can steal, copy, exploit and change your personal information.
That is why this month is important. Your data is YOUR data. It is vital that you are aware of how to protect it. If you have a device that connects – it needs to be protected and YOU are the one responsible for making sure that happens.
This month we look forward to having unfiltered conversations about cybersecurity. We will post our thoughts on how the pandemic has changed the concept of secure perimeter-based security, how the proliferation of small devices connecting to the greater web – as valuable as they are – has increased the attack vectors that we need to monitor and where we all may be headed in the future.
We invite you to join us in this discussion. But even if you don’t, we compel you to remember: The most important person responsible for your cyber security is you. Take that responsibility seriously.