How secure are we?

// Posted by on 03/12/2012 (8:58 PM)

After doing some research on Stuxnet, I have begun to wonder how secure we really are. Now, I’m not talking about physical security, like the possibility of a nuclear war or getting mugged on the street, I am talking about security on cyberspace, cybersecurity. If hackers can spread a virus that can wreak havoc on nuclear reactors, they can also hack into thousands upon thousands of websites and steal information. As our world continues to increase in the amount of and dependence on technology, the amount of information about ourselves that is entrusted to corporations through the Internet or is stored in the cloud, is also increasing. And it all makes me wonder, how secure am I?

A recent opinion piece on Wired states that with the exponential increase in cyber attacks within the past few years, something must change. These attacks have grown to being much larger than simply stealing a person’s credit card number, but stealing the information of thousands of customers or hacking the power grid may be more realistic threats, depending on whom you ask.

In this video, there are clips of President Obama saying that these threats are serious and possible, yet Jim Harper from the CATO Institute, states that these are not serious threats because they are not probable and even if they did occur, they would not last too long.

Which leads me to the question, do you feel safe? When I think about cybersecurity, I am not too worried about my information. I try to be responsible about choosing which sites I give my information to and ensuring that they are reputable and secure. Some websites have my credit card number so that I can check out quicker and not have to put it down each time (Amazon, Barnes & Noble, etc.), but am I naive to think that I am safe? Is there any way that we can truly be safe or are we all susceptible to an attack?

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Bridget said...

I felt the same questions that Cameron did after learning about Stuxnet and other cyberattacks. While I’d like to think I am safe with the information I give out on the internet – such as which sites I give credit card information to, etc. I believe that the hacking world is a very advanced one, in which we are all very possible targets. It seems that hacking e-mail accounts is a very simple hacking task. That being said, very valuable and confidential information is often exchanged via e-mail nowadays. How can we truly protect ourselves from this information being leaked? Is this even possible? Should we become less trusting of the internet than we are now? Or will that ultimately lead us to abandon the network altogether?

// 03/12/2012 at 11:17 pm

Kelsey said...

I believe that as individuals it would be wise to become more knowledgable about how to secure our emails and other accounts as our society becomes more imbedded in the internet. But, there is also the fact that there are people out there paid who knows how much to make sure that our emails and credit card information is protected. Do I think it’s bullet proof? No, but for the common citizen or in my own case poor college kid there really isn’t anything in my email or bank account worth taking thus I feel pretty secure.

// 03/14/2012 at 12:02 am

Renee said...

I have to agree with Kelsey. If I had acces to more sensitive information or more money I would probably feel vulnerable. But right now I’m going with the I really have nothing to hide/worth protecting. That, however, is not a very reassuring answer for myself in the future or for individuals who have more than I do, like the 1%. I also have to agree that individuals need to take more agency in protecting themselves. Most people including myself don’t know much about how to increase their online security. But I bet if we did, if we were more proactive and than online security would be less of a threat. But instead the masses tend to take a very passive role and just like we allow Steve Jobs to tell us what kind of computer we should want, we allow someone else to determine what online security should mean.

// 03/14/2012 at 12:50 am

Natalie said...

I think one of the ways to counter this is to begin to teach HTML code and other basic computer skills to students. If we are more aware of how these systems work we may begin to understand how easy it is for people to hack our lives. Instead of always being on the defensive we could begin to lead a more offensive role. While it appears that this knowledge is widespread, because so many people already have these abilities, it is clear that there are still a lot of people uneducated in these systems (including myself). Having more knowledge on these issues could provide me with a little more personal security.

// 03/16/2012 at 5:57 pm