“Seriously dad! That’s SO 2010!” My daughter’s comment echoed in my head. “What? You’re 7!” How did this happen? How old am I? It seems like just yesterday I was standing around the office discussing Y2K. I remember the humming of that 28.8k modem firing up and realizing that it would now be just a few short minutes (probably 5) and I’d be able to hear that “you’ve got mail” announcement. Sure the mail would undoubtedly be some chain email that had no less than 8,000 other poor recipients who were told to forward or the world as they know it would end, but hey, it was email! Remember how opening the mailbox and finding yet ANOTHER CD with “700 free hours from AOL” felt like Christmas morning?
…Okay, perhaps I’m going a little too far down memory lane.
Comments like “that’s so 2010,” while funny, can actually contain some valuable information. After having a good laugh I started thinking back to when I was my daughter’s age and my father had purchased the game “Pong”. After a year or so, out went Pong and in came Atari. After Atari came Nintendo and you know how the rest of the story goes. So as I sit here today looking at my children’s Wii, Xbox Kinect, Kindle Fire and iPad, not only do I realize that they have WAY too many electronic gadgets, I also realize that most of them (if not all), have built in features or Apps that allow them to communicate with other people. They also have storage drives, chat functionality, headsets that they can use while playing online and social media site access. Perhaps there’s a better way to approach this. How about you stop and try to write down all of the functionality these items have. What about the vulnerabilities? Do you know how to protect your children from seeing or doing things they shouldn’t, yet avoid locking everything down so tight that they can only play Angry Birds another 4 million times? I’ll be the first to admit that those pigs need to be dealt with, but come on. Enough is enough.
For those of you without children, I hope you’ve stuck with me because here’s where this applies to all:
What about your own activity on your company-issued device? If you’re responsible for those devices, how are you protecting employees from making mistakes which lead to a compromise? Have you taken the necessary steps to ensure your devices and IT infrastructures are safe from intrusion and cyber threats?
I can assure you that the majority of those employees whose company-issued laptops were compromised did not have that on their “to-do” list for that day.
I don’t want to reference the thousands of examples that we all know about. Let’s just accept it as reality. Brian Karney, President & COO of AccessData recently participated in an interview regarding AccessData’s Cyber Intelligence Response Technology (CIRT) and he discussed how organizations lack the awareness that first and foremost, “You are a target”. In my opinion organizations are either intentional targets, or victims of circumstance because they don’t have the system or tools in place to protect themselves. But believe it; they (and you) are targets. So, much like the CTO and COO who need to protect their company’s assets from attacks, I as a father attempt to protect my greatest assets from attacks as well. Having tools that not only automate this, but continue to evolve and adapt to the ever-changing landscape of Cyber Threats is invaluable. And then having tools to clean up the mess afterward is just as crucial.
I’m not sure what value you place on your assets, be it personal or professional, but for me there’s no such thing as being reactive. That implies it’s too late. The only option I have is to stay proactive and to make sure I’m ready when someone attempts to access my son’s iPad through his Wi-Fi connection, or some predator attempts to become “Mii” friends with my daughter on her Wii. I’ll be ready for them.
Will you be?
The days of Pong and Atari are behind us. Thieves don’t have to knock down your front door to rob you blind. They can do it in the middle of night, while you’re fast asleep; all because John from accounting opened that funny video that he thought came from a friend. This isn’t a “sky is falling” post, this is a question…..
Are you still playing Pong?