While cyber security and cyber crime are subjects of international concern, they should be of equal concern to individual users. Cyber breaches over the last year have been enormous in scale — from Russian hackers claiming millions of passwords to American retail stores revealing that millions of credit cards may have been hacked. These recent incidents highlight the ever-present threat of cyber crime, but many believe that it is important to think about individual approaches to protecting oneself from these types of breaches.
In discussing ways to get the general population to think about cyber protection, Jean Camp, Director of the Security Informatics Program at Indiana University Bloomington, suggests the U.S. take an approach similar to that of a public health campaign. In an interview at the Blouin Creative Leadership Summit 2014, Camp described how the scale of the recent breaches is an indicator of a new type of approach to security.
“Cyber security — with these massive attacks — is starting to be treated as a systematic, huge, international problem…As the scale changes, the approach has got to change,” said Camp. In an analogy, she emphasized that there have been successful public health campaigns against germ-spreading and cigarette-smoking. The same should go for changing passwords.
VISUAL CONTEXT: CYBER BREACHES BY INDUSTRY
“Now we are seeing more of a realization that we need a cyber safety infrastructure the way we have systematically constrained and managed risk,” she noted. Indeed, businesses are gearing up to devote more time and money to protecting their data as well. Research firm Gartner predicted that global spending on information security will reach $76.9 billion by 2015, up 7.9% from the recorded numbers of spending for 2014.
Perhaps as businesses and the government seek a different approach to getting users to think about cyber protection, a new infrastructure will emerge. Until then, users should still think about changing their passwords as automatically as they think about washing their hands.