Cybersecurity: A growing threat and a growing opportunity

Bill Morrow, the head of CSIdentity, a company that protects people from identity theft, paints a grim picture. In the 1980s, he explains, perhaps several hundred people a year would be unlucky enough to have their identities stolen. Last year, it happened to perhaps 10m people. In fact, there are so many thefts that it may take the crooks as long as a year or two to get around to draining your bank account. In the face of such facts, the most usual prophylactic measures can seem comically low-tech: update your virus-protection software, don’t save your passwords in a document called “passwords” and if a “friend” sends you a Facebook message asking you to wire money to Wales, be sceptical.Mr Morrow was speaking on February 6th at a debate sponsored by the Texas Lyceum, a bipartisan civic group, on the subject of whether people are safe online. The panellists agreed that, for the most part, they are not. Ari Schwartz, the vice-president of the Centre for Democracy and Technology in Washington, DC, observed that in terms of cyber-crime, individuals face the same types of threats as nation-states. It was a timely reminder. Cyber-security has been a deepening concern for the Obama administration since last year, when the White House announced that it would create a new military Cyber Command and appointed a cyber-security tsar.

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