The state of cyber security: we’re all screwed

The state of cyber security: we’re all screwed
Sophisticated cybercrime, privacy fears and ongoing confusion about security have soured the internet for many, and doing something about it won’t be easy

By Dan Tynan in Las Vegas Aug 8 2016

When cybersecurity professionals converged in Las Vegas last week to expose vulnerabilities and swap hacking techniques at Black Hat and Defcon, a consistent theme emerged: the internet is broken, and if we don’t do something soon, we risk permanent damage to our economy.

“Half of all Americans are backing away from the net due to fears regarding security and privacy,” longtime tech security guru Dan Kaminsky said in his Black Hat keynote speech, citing a July 2015 study by the National Telecommunications and Information Administration. “We need to go ahead and get the internet fixed or risk losing this engine of beauty.”

There’s no lack of things to be worried about: organized cybercriminal gangs; government surveillance; not to mention hack attacks from nation states.

That may be good news for the cybersecurity industry, which is expected to grow more than 10% annually and surpass $200bn worldwide by 2021, according to research firm Markets and Markets.

But it’s bad news for the rest of us. As we conduct more of our lives online, we’re being asked to become increasingly savvy about computer security. Many are simply uninterested or not up to the task.

Add up all these factors, and the question becomes not why many consumers are losing confidence in the internet, but whether they should have any confidence at all.

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