I read two articles online recently that brought a question to mind as I read them. It’s not a new question to most of us however- What is the best way to protect private information from being stolen by hackers? More specifically who would be the most effective- based on these two articles; Is it the government or is it the hackers themselves?
My view is that some combination of the two…along with much help from the private sector, would be the most effective. Hackers would have the knowledge and be the quickest to react to new threats; we all know how slow government works. The problem there is that there are always the bad apples. Can we really rely on hackers to effectively police themselves? I don’t think that is possible. Are ethical hackers effective or do they just fuel more competition from ‘the bad guys’?
On the other side is the government with its laws and regulations. While I think that kind of thing is needed to force private corporations to be more responsible with consumer information, I also wonder where the line should be drawn. My fear is that once the government begins to regulate companies, will they stop there. Do we need to protect children and private information…of course we do. Will we soon however have laws limiting the exchange of ideas, limitations on what can be bought and sold, guidelines on what we can discuss in forums? Will we be restricted from selling certain items because a hacker may use them for malicious purposes? Will we not be able to discuss adult topics because a child may wander on a website? Will we no longer be able to discuss security on blogs such as this because it could inform a hacker of certain vulnerabilities?
My view is that while there are obvious holes that need patching, overall we are doing fine with things as things are. In the whole design of time, technology, or more pertinently- cyber security-is still a very new thing. How many people lost fingers and limbs in early industrial machinery? Did we stop using machines because of that? No we continued and made improvements as things progressed. The government didn’t step in right away, mostly the improvements were made by the users themselves. Technology is no different. We need to stay diligent, use caution and protect where we can…we should also be helping our fellow man. The bright side is…we will all have jobs waiting for us when we finish school.
So what do you think? Who is best suited to prevent hackers from stealing private information…the government or ethical hackers?