Indeed, it seems that too many of our government leaders just don’t “get it,” and have not really tried to “get it” for many years. Millions and billions of dollars have been spent on showy, impressive-looking systems designed to monitor and serveil our every move, giving the appearance of “security,” yet all the while failing to provide the serious protections our country’s networks so desperately need. We’re experts at making sure Grandpa can’t carry more than 3.4 ounces of shaving cream onto an airplane, but we can’t seem to keep 20-something Chinese hackers located 10,000 miles away out of our critical computer systems.
“A good example, and there are many, of where the US Government could best drive higher levels of security by focusing on becoming what Presidential Decision Directive 63 back in 1998 called ‘a model of information security’ on the Internet,” stated John Pescatore, vice president at Gartner Inc. for 14 years and SANS Institute director since 2013. “Instead, we have way too much federal focus on monitoring of private industry, having private industry share information and creating ‘yet another framework’ for private industry — instead of focusing on making government systems themselves (and by extension those of contractors and suppliers) much, much more secure.”
What do these things mean to “normal,” everyday computer users? Realize that the government cannot seem to get its own house in order, much less protect you. Take responsibility for your own computer security; take your Internet safety into your own hands. Pay attention to your computing environment and question everything you see. Use research tools like Google to learn about things you don’t understand, rather than blindly clicking and hoping all will be well. Read columns like this one and learn how to take care of the basics. Be careful where you click.
Dave Moore has been performing computer consulting, repairs, security and networking in Oklahoma since 1984. He also teaches computer safety workshops for public and private organizations. He can be reached at 919-9901 or www.davemoorecomputers.com.