Cybersecurity in Our Digital Lives
Cybersecurity in Our Digital Lives
We are a connected people. Daily, our dependence on computers, mobile devices, and digital systems increases for business, personal transactions, social media, education, entertainment, communication, and a host of other purposes, some vital to our wellbeing and some insignificant and perhaps frivolous. We are a connected society-a "digital people" with our fame and fortune a click away on the Internet. With so much of our daily life dependent on digital systems, we need to insure that our dependence on those systems is secure and safe from mischief. Despite our reliance on information technology, most people are naïve as to the threats and the security required to combat malicious actions. People have placed their digital security in the hands of others and in many respects have relinquished control of their personal and commercial data and information.
Cybersecurity, simply stated, is the process by which we guard our data at any level-personal, organizational, or governmental information in the digital world. Information-data-is valuable not only to us personally, but to our national interest. Our personal computers and mobile devices are being assaulted by viruses, the digital networks of the banking systems are attacked regularly, and every minute of every day those with malicious intent attempt to breach the cyber defenses of our government agencies. Bad actors, both state and criminal, seek to steal our personal information from social media outlets, gain access to financial information through social engineering, and harm businesses from the inside. Cybersecurity seeks to guard against such intrusions as well as losses.
Cybersecurity continues to be one of the most important issues confronting the connected planet. If we recognize the value and importance of information in the digital age, then it is essential to appreciate just how crucial cybersecurity is to us as individuals, organizations, and most crucially to the sectors we highlight in this book. The globe is now linked in ways unimaginable little more than a decade ago. We are sharing enormous amounts of information and data sometimes willingly, but often times unwittingly. We operate in a knowledge economy where information and the exploitation of that information are incredibly valuable. Nefarious actors, be they state or criminal, strive to access commercial information for competitive advantage, personal data which is exchanged and exploited by criminals for financial gain, and of course government databases affecting everything from health care to national defense.
While we like to believe that our data is secure, rarely a day passes without news of a major cybersecurity breach. Seemingly cuttingedge organizations such as Target, Home Depot, Amazon, Pinterest, Tumblr, Airbnb, Facebook, Google, Twitter, Adobe, the Washington State Courts, and J. P. Morgan have all been compromised. The new national health care system, the national power grid, numerous government agencies, schools, social media, the defense industry, and financial institutions have all been assaulted by those with malicious intent (Marks, 2014). Sensitive data has been lost, businesses compromised, personal lives exposed, credit card numbers stolen, and health and well-being endangered through threats to our major networks and infrastructures.
We have gained much through technology; we now have the ability to: transmit huge amounts of data over the Internet, complete limitless electronic transactions on a daily basis, and compile increasingly large amounts of sensitive information for our business organizations. Some estimate that each day nearly three quintillion bytes of data are generated online. Digital technology has given us the ability to utilize social media and chat with our friends, shop online, read magazines, enjoy the news, monitor our finances, and secure our homes. We