“No foreign nation, no hacker, should be able to shut down our networks, steal our trade secrets, or invade the privacy of American families, especially the kids,” President Obama said in the State of the Union Address Tuesday. Cyber security is a growing issue. Data has become extremely valuable and no longer are bored high schoolers hacking into websites. It’s activist trying to make a point such as the recent Sony hack. As Obama said in the SOTUA, the government wants to increase security, but at what cost?
My uncle works for the Navy teaching courses on cyber security. He said the biggest problem is bridging the gap between the technical side and the typical user. Cyber security is like a “black art” that is becoming more and more complex. As a result, Obama is calling for companies to share cyber security information with the government, modernize the tools to fight cyber security and establish a way for companies to share when there has been a breach in security.
While Obama wants companies to be more open when they are hacked, the government isn’t supporting them when that open communication turns into million dollar law suits. For example, in 2013 Target shared that over 100 million customers had their credit card or personal information stolen by online hackers. As a result the breach cost them a pretty penny of $148 million.
So how can an average user protect him or herself against a cyber attack? Take precautions.
- Use strong passwords
- Avoid using public wifi and computers
- Use encrypted connections when purchasing something online
- Put a password on your smartphone and encrypt it
- Sign up for alerts on your debit and credit card’s activity
With so much data online, this is only the beginning of debates on privacy and virtual security and who receives it. It’ll be interesting to see how the government responds to companies growing need for protection against cyber attacks without overstepping the boundary of having total access to all information.