Experiencing Security Fatigue?

By Gerard Louise | March 10th, 2017

As the CEO of an IT company, I often find myself speaking to people about what my company offers and what services we provide. Inevitably, the discussion will segue from technology, to the topic of internet security and privacy.  We all desire complete control over what information we share, but it often feels like it is being chipped away at every turn in the name of commoditizing our daily activities.  Since 9/11, our country has relied heavily on the notion of relinquishing a bit of privacy for the sake of national security.  Most feel as though it is a small price to pay, after all, “If you don’t have anything to hide…”, good people should have nothing to fear from their government conducting a little snooping, what’s the big deal?

It’s precisely that belief of giving a little that is eroding the very fabric of what we hold close.  As I stare at my Samsung SmartTV, I start to wonder who may be listening to me, or who may be scoffing at my poor choice of words while I desperately attempt to pound my remote control to evade the latest Tweets of our President.

Ok, perhaps that may seem like a bit of paranoia, but we are all aware of how the Internet of Things (IOT) have become a staple in our homes at this point.  These devices are all interconnected and speak to one another, which begs the question; what personal data are we providing for these sophisticated algorithms to successfully anticipate our needs?

I recall a scene in the movie Meet the Parents where Robert DeNiro is interrogating Ben Stiller about his willingness to enter “The Circle of Truth”.  It sounded funny at the time, but not so much anymore, because that circle of trust which has been imposed on us by the security agencies for the sake of protection seems to have gone to hell in a handbasket.

Let me explain, first we had the NSA who cozied up with the Telco’s, allowing surveillance of any U.S. citizen’s communications, and with the most recent leak, there are allegations the CIA used a hack dubbed Weeping Angel.  This hack captures what you say in the privacy of your own home through any of your connected devices equipped with a camera or microphone, including your SmartTV. While this in and of itself is disturbing, think about how much deeper it could go if crooks or unscrupulous business people got their hands on these “tools”, imagine what they could capture if they gained access to listen in, or worse, see your every action.

So what exactly can we do?  Flight or Fight.  The fact is, many of us are suffering from Security Fatigue.  We are bombarded with a tirade of requests to change our passwords, protect our identities, reset codes, or new compliance requirements that demand greater effort to recollect.  We are tired of being told that despite all of this, it still isn’t enough.

We could resign and admit defeat in the battle for anonymity, or we could choose to fight and stay in the game to protect our right to privacy. Samsung and Apple are two vendors affected by the recent information released on WikiLeaks, and both have indicated that the vulnerabilities were a result of older or not properly updated software.  I hope this is true, until we are told otherwise, my recommendation will remain the same, ensure all your Televisions, Phones, Computers, and any other Connected Devices are protected by the latest security updates available.

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