Cybersecurity awareness and education are not just for a month, they are forever | A conversation with Jeff Wilbur

Cybersecurity awareness and education are forever.jpg

By Marco Ciappelli
A conversation with Jeff Wilbur
Director of the Online Trust Alliance Initiative at the Internet Society

Ladies and Gentlemen, welcome to the intersection of IT security and society.
Welcome to ITSPmagazine.

Our mission is to raise awareness for cybersecurity by making it understandable, accessible, and part of everyone’s everyday life.

Because we are, and will always be, a free publication, we rely on business sponsors and small individual donations to create our content and expand our reach.

So, get in touch with me if your company would like to sponsor this column.
Whatever you think is worth it, it will help to make a difference. 

Think about it.

And now let’s get back to introduce today’s podcast.

It was about time that The Cyber Society met The Internet Society. Sounds like we have at least one thing in common: we think about the present and future of our lives in this digitally connected world.

Other than that the difference is enormous.

This is just a small column that I run on ITSPmagazine with the mission to bring awareness, education, and a paradigm shift in the way our society perceives technology.

The Internet Society is a large non-profit that has been around for 26 years, and it was founded by two of the “fathers of the Internet,” Vint Cerf and Bob Kahn. When they created it, they saw the full potential and risk of what was coming and wanted to be sure that someone was looking after this fantastic communication system they helped to create: the Internet.

Their Vision?
The Internet is for everyone.

Their Mission?
To support and promote the development of the Internet as global technical infrastructure, a resource to enrich people’s lives, and a force for good in society.

Their main goal?
The Internet to be open, globally connected, secure, and trustworthy.

An admirable quest and not an easy one, but hopefully a dream that many of us still share and will fight to support and help make a reality.

I remember the way I felt the first time I connected to the internet with a dial-up modem that scared my cat out of the bedroom as if a poltergeist was there to get her. The evening of the first successful connection to the World Wide Web felt surreal, and I still smile remembering it. When images started to appear on Mosaic it was like stepping through some portal into another dimension: a universe with no boundaries where strangers could communicate with each other, access all sort of knowledge, learn, share and create more. In my head, the library of Alexandria was reborn, except this time it was digital and it was there to grow and stay, for all the citizens of the world, for a new era of humanity. I envisioned emancipation from ignorance and a renaissance of cultures for global intellectual freedom.

Well, I was half right and half wrong.

All the citizens of the world will eventually have internet access soon enough, but as far as the cultural renaissance dream, I am afraid that my crystal ball was a bit foggy at the time.

The good news is that I still have hope, and I am not the only one. Jeff Wilbur is one of those. He is the Director of the Online Trust Alliance (OTA) initiative at the Internet Society, and in this conversation we talk about the past, the present, and the future of our cyber-connected lives.

This conversation happened during National Cybersecurity Awareness Month and while it is an extra incentive for many, Jeff and I agreed that there’s no such thing as a bad month, day or hour to talk about cybersecurity awareness and education.

We spoke about how things have changed, especially with the advent of the Internet of Things and the massive adoption by industries and consumers.

We talk about the Online Trust Alliance Framework, with its set of 40 principles intended to serve as a guide for IoT-solution vendors to ensure that devices and services follow security and privacy best practices.

We discussed what happens when companies put unsafe IoT devices on the market and how consumers can choose a safe device to put in a smart home, instead of a trojan horse.

In a perfect world we shouldn’t have to worry about all this and. hopefully, soon we will have to be a bit less concerned about it. The Online Trust Alliance is working with other organizations all over the world to create a standard certification that will assure the quality and safety of the IoT devices on the market.

Until then, and probably even then, remember that 100% cybersecurity simply does not exist. We, the users, cannot merely stand still waiting for technology to fix itself, for companies to unconditionally respect and protect us, or for the government to step in.

We must do our part to protect ourselves, our businesses and our families.

We must educate ourselves and act.

This is part of what living in a Cyber Society means and what awareness is about.

Educate yourself and listen up. 

Enjoy the podcast, listen to it carefully, and share it recklessly! 

* If you have read my introduction above, you can go directly to the conversation by skipping ahead to 5:42 - Enjoy!

A brief video about the Internet Society

For more of The Cyber Society podcasts