It took thousands of unnecessary traffic fatalities to create an environment for radical transformation of the auto industry. What will it take for a similar change to occur in data security?
By every metric, driving an automobile is far safer today than it was in 1965, due to a combination of factors including government regulations and legislation, consumer awareness, and technology advances. The catalyst for all of this was one man: Ralph Nader.
Prior to 1965, car manufacturers had no real motivation to make safe cars because the cost of doing so did not justify the business benefits. But then Ralph Nader published Unsafe at Any Speed, a critique of the safety record of American automobile manufacturers. His advocacy injected the traffic fatality epidemic into the headlines, and a nation changed.
What does this have to do with cyber security? Well, the current data breach epidemic feeds off a delicious broth of consumer apathy, corporate incrementalism, and flawed federal regulations — exactly the conditions that existed in 1965 with automobiles. Clearly, things need to change if we are to curb the data breach epidemic… but who will be cyber security’s Ralph Nader?