You got hacked!
It is like the new "You've got mail." Except no one wants this. The revelation that someone else has become you. Or your family, Or now has your money. A collective "UGH" goes out just at the thought.
Well, this was the year that Cyber-security (personal security) became Paramount in people's mind-share. Whether it was Target, Home Depot, Equifax, Sony, JP Morgan, and the list does not stop there. We all suddenly became more aware of *some* of the dangers faced in an interconnected, digitally woven world of 1s and 0s we now inhabit. Unless you live on top of a non wifi enabled mountain; or in a non wired cave somewhere.
As the founder of Digijaks - which is a cyber security company focused on the dangers of social media and mobility; I have both seen many problems and helped many people and businesses with them. Last year we released the Cybrs8f mobile app on android, which was really an early alpha attempt at trying to educate people about how Cyber Security actually equals Personal Security.
We have are now getting ready to release two consumer products for digital family safety and see the tremendous need for the average person to start taking steps to protect their lives, their families and their money for real.
Cyber War is here. It is both sponsored by Nation States (as may or may not have been the case with Sony Pictures Entertainment) as well as hacking cartels, drug cartels, Russian + Chinese Mafia as well as numerous offshoot groups of terrorist and disgruntled people. I have been writing about the dangers we all face for several years now. But now is the time to actually start paying attention. For real.
I have said it before, and will say it again here, now. The United States finds itself in a new war. A constant 24 hour/7 day a week/365 day a year war that is both hot and cold at the same time. In fact it presents the most asymmetrical threat to our national security since the founding of this country.
Cyber war. Cyber terror. Electronic Warfare being aimed at our military, our intelligence, every government agency, utilities, banks, critical infrastructure like power, water, sewage, hospitals, police and other first responders. Yes. This is happening, now; probably even in your town or city or state.
Just imagine cities across America without power for extended periods. Imagine in your mind, no running water. No electricity. No fresh food deliveries. Hospitals suddenly finding themselves with no ability to treat sick, or dying people. Imagine this, and realize all it takes is a successful hack attempt into a critical infrastructure choke point to cause this, sight unseen, maybe not even leaving fingerprints or evidence of how things got hacked.
Almost every move you make online, or when you are using any electronic communications is watched, monitored, cataloged. License plate cameras are spying on your movements, with almost no regulation. Actual cameras are all over the place; with also little to no regulation on data use and privacy. GPS, Cookies. Beacons. RFID tags on everything from food to clothes in the stores, to your electronics. These are the tools the governments, companies and bad guys out there have almost ubiquitous access to.
California is leading the charge in helping consumers, again. The State formed the Calfornia Cyber Security Task Force, of which I am a member. This is a first in the nation effort, and we are writing policies to help businesses, schools, organizations and citizens alike. But this effort is just starting, and the average citizen can't wait. Neither can businesses. 2014 served as the wake-up call. To all of us. Listen to it and respond to it. Do not just sit around and hope you will be ok, You won't be if you just do nothing.
Luckily there are many companies and organizations devoted to protecting you out there providing solutions for the protection of your data, and to try to help make privacy an actual option. Use them. Make sure you follow privacy guidelines and ensure your settings online, on your smart phones and in the apps you use are set tightly. This is a step in the right direction. But just a baby step.