Confronting the “Cyber Apocalypse”—Why it is Crucial to Not Fall Victim to the Hype, and Other Wise Words from Art Coviello

Uncategorized Posted Jan 30, 2013 by chenpr

Yesterday morning, RSA hosted a media event at its headquarters in Burlington, MA to unveil its newest product, RSA Security Analytics. In short, the product will leverage the power of big data to gain greater visibility into, and context around, network and device traffic to protect against the most advanced and sophisticated threats. For a deeper explanation of the product see the RSA Press Release issued this morning.

Executive Chairman of RSA, Art Coviello kicked off the morning with a very honest discussion of the need to rationalize and analyze Big Data explosion and meet the security challenges that this magnitude of data can bring head on. While there is much to be concerned about , in this discussion he strongly stated his aversion to expressions such as “Cyber Pearl Harbor” or “Cyber 9/11.” These phrases, he said, do not provide us with any real understanding of what is actually going on in terms of cyber threats. Honest discussion and collaboration among key security players will be what really drives understanding, thus driving change and improvement in security technology.

By watching the news and reading popular news articles, I have been absentmindedly consuming these apocalyptic messages. And, just as Mr. Coviello explained, my understanding of the actual threats we face is not improved once the article is finished. These terms are coined to induce panic, not to foster learning and present solutions.

Of course—the threats we face are real, and deserve our utmost attention, but it is rare that anyone benefits from a full-blown panic. It is important to be truthful about the disruptions enterprises and governments are encountering due to cyber-attacks, but it is most important that the truth brings about discussion, not hysteria.

As you read about the newest DDoS attacks, or today’s most sophisticated APTs, take notice of the articles that aim to scare you rather than educate you—the stories that exacerbate fear rather than provide transparent information. I am confident, especially after attending the RSA event yesterday, that the security world will follow Mr. Coviello’s advice and not fall victim to the fear-mongering, but instead continue to develop solutions to face our most imminent security issues.