Nothing sounds more snooze worthy than online security. Your eyes are probably already glazed over with boredom. Let’s face it, all this chatter about online security is not that sexy. Frankly you’re not sure how it personally affects you anyway, so why bother even thinking about it, right?
Here’s the reality: cybercrime is one of the greatest threats to our country if you believe the U.S. Justice Department. If that’s not enough to persuade you into the “why you should care” category–then maybe refreshing your memory about the infamous 2011 Wi-Fi hacking case out of Minnesota will change your mind.
Photo by @Stellarintel
A neighbor from hell was given an 18-year prison sentence after infiltrating his next door neighbor’s Wi-Fi network. This lovely neighbor’s wide range of illegal activity included sending threatening letters to politicians, and attempting to frame his neighbor by planting child pornography–all while hacked into an innocent man’s Wi-Fi.
While not everyone is that sinister, you might be suddenly concerned that you’ve done something to upset your digitally literate neighbor. Perhaps you have a tech savvy person in your Wi-Fi range that could possibly unleash a barrage of cyber terror with little effort. The terrifying thing is just how easy it is to hack into an unsecured Wi-Fi network. It’s as simple as logging on to the world’s most used search engine to find out.
But what are the chances? Whether you realize it or not, the manufacturer of your computer, tablets and smart phones are working feverishly to stave off cyber criminals. The blunt reality is that their systems are thwarting thousands of attacks daily. In fact, cybersecurity is such a big deal that there’s a conference that you’ve probably never heard of that takes over the entire city of San Francisco.
Prepping the world for an increasingly connected world couldn’t come fast enough. By the year 2020, there will be up to 200 billion devices connected. You’re going to be too vulnerable and irresistible for a cyber criminal to pass up.
RSA holds a conference yearly on this very topic, and they say it’s “Where the World Talks Security.” RSA is the authority on connecting people with the latest security technology. Hundreds of companies are setting up their booths at this very moment, waiting to unveil their latest and greatest cyber security creations. While to the outsider it may seem like just another opportunity for big shot enterprises to advertise what’s hot in online security, these companies are the ninjas protecting our digital world. So who are these digital ninjas? They are companies like Microsoft, Amazon, AT&T, IBM, and Oracle.
Photo by @BizTechMagazine
From beverage bars hosted by beautiful women with tight tops to entice conference goers to DJ’s spinning beats to wow the crowds, large enterprises know to most people anything tech and security sounds rather drab. They get pretty creative about the ways in which they attract people. Many of the attendees include technologists, journalists or investors (you never know who’s watching).
Then there’s Academy Award-winner Sean Penn. Apparently even he’s taking an interest in this topic, so it must be a big deal right? Penn is expected to engage in a one-on-one discussion with RSA President Amit Yoran Friday, March 4th. What the discussion will entail is still a mystery. RSA’s website says “a variety of topics” but hey, it never hurts to have star power attached to terminology like cyber security.
Also on the agenda: the challenges in mobile, security of public key encryption, linguistic pass phrase cracking and the importance of the public getting on board with virtual private networks.
With more than 500 exhibitors, more than 400 expert-led sessions and big name keynote speakers, RSA’s 25th anniversary event is expected to be another record breaker. 2015 proved to hit an all time high for attendance, further highlighting the importance and interest in online security.
What big ideas will be unveiled at this year’s conference? We’ll be back when the booths open on Tuesday.
Until then, ask yourself where you are reading this article from. Now ask yourself: who’s watching? That should save you a permanent seat in the “why you should care” category.
Photo by @PanamaAmerica
Nineveh Dinha Madsen is a Swedish-born, ethnic Assyrian American Television Personality. She spent a decade working as a journalist.
She's is the Founder & Editor of HER Magazine ™ (www.hermag.co) and is a marketing and media consultant for several companies, including tech giant OpenVPN.
Her passion for writing led her to a long career in television news. She has covered several stories which made national news including the Harrier Jet crash. The coverage won her an Edward R. Murrow award for Spot News.
She's also been recognized by the Associated Press, Utah Broadcasters Association and was voted one of the State's top reporters by Salt Lake's City Weekly Magazine.
In 2008, she worked on a feature called "Know your Roots" which genetically traced her DNA profile to Mesopotamia in 1400 BC, which was part of ancient Assyria. The two part series created a big buzz among Assyrians. Years later she was awarded and recognized in Los Angeles by the Assyrian Community for her excellence in journalism.
She graduated from California State University East Bay with a degree in Broadcast Journalism in 2004.