The threat of hackers is reportedly much worse than small security breaches, as even the US director of cybersecurity and infrastructure stated that the tech ecosystem around the world is “really unsafe.”
Cybersecurity concerns have plagued officials for years, as the skills gap continues to widen without a viable funnel for more professionals. As a result, hackers have gotten infinitely more innovative and effective at infiltrating systems and causing havoc.
Now, with so much of the world reliant on infrastructure based on technology, important aspects of everyday life are at risk due to poor cybersecurity measures.
Cyber Safety at CES 2023
Jen Easterly, the Director of the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, said during an interview with Yahoo Finance at CES 2023 that the connected nature of the world today could cause some serious problems if cybersecurity issues are not addressed.
“We live in a world…of massive connections where that critical infrastructure that we rely upon is all underpinned by a technology ecosystem that unfortunately has become really unsafe.”
Unsafe is putting mildly. Security breaches and ransomware hacks have become troublingly commonplace in the business world, and worse, the most vulnerable of industries are consistently targeted for these kinds of attacks.
“We cannot have the same sort of attacks on hospitals and school districts that we've been seeing for years. We have to create a sustainable approach to cyber safety.”
If you think these cybersecurity issues are dire, the schools and hospitals that Easterly is referring to didn't just take small financial hits. Some schools have completely shuttered their doors, while hospitals have paid massive ransoms that put a strain on healthcare for patients.
How to Fix Cybersecurity
Easterly certainly isn't proposing that she can fix the numerous cybersecurity problems plaguing the industry in a single fireside chat at CES 2023. Rather, she suggests that a perspective shift needs to happen for consumers and tech purveyors to take a step in the right direction.
“We've essentially accepted as normal that technology is released to market with dozens or hundreds or thousands of vulnerabilities and defects and flaws. We've accepted the fact that cyber safety is my job and your job and the job of my mom and my kid, but we've put the burden on consumers, not on the companies who are best equipped to be able to do something about it.”
It's a fair point. Much like the climate change discussion, the responsibility for protecting ourselves has largely been ditched on everyday people, rather than the tech professionals paid to shore up their systems. All the password managers, VPNs, and antivirus software in the world won't protect someone whose information is sitting on a server at a tech company headquarters that isn't secure.
Simply put, the tech industry needs to take a bit more responsibility for how it secures user data and important infrastructure, rather than placing the blame on consumers that couldn't code their way out of a paper bag.