Security will get worse before it gets better

The damage caused by threats and the number of Net-dependent critical systems are on the rise. Yet we still haven't created a safer Internet

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Identity theft is rampant. I think everyone with any online financial history has received a notice from their credit card agency, bank, or favorite store telling them their financial information has been compromised. The bank or store may issue them a new credit card and reverse the immediate damage, but a person with a compromised identity often spends more than 100 hours cleaning up the rest of the mess.

Then there are the obvious scams. I've seen doctors, lawyers, scientists, and even Nobel prize winners scammed. Scammers are so good at pretending to be legitimate that I'm immediately suspicious of nearly every email and phone call from anyone about nearly everything claiming to be business related. You could call me to offer me free money, and I guarantee you I won't listen to you long enough to let you finish your first sentence. I will never win the Publisher's Clearinghouse Sweepstakes.

Real-world risks
The second and more important reason why we can't live with the current standings is that every day more and more of our nation's critical infrastructure is on the Internet. Systems that should never be running over the Internet are running over the Internet. This includes medical, traffic, television, telephone, and power networks.

The No. 1 reason we must do a better job of securing the Internet is that our national infrastructure has become connected to it: water, electricity, telephony, and transportation. Worse yet, all of those utilities now depend on the Internet. Every legitimate security person believes that our nation's critical infrastructure can be manipulated or taken down by rogue players pretty much at will.

We must do whatever we can to protect our nation's critical infrastructure, including the Internet. Meanwhile, hang on as the situation continues to worsen. One day a huge tipping point event will happen, and we will run around like reactive sheep and finally get the job done. It's too bad that we can't seem to be proactive and help society sooner.

This story, "Security will get worse before it gets better," was originally published at InfoWorld.com. Keep up on the latest developments in network security and read more of Roger Grimes' Security Adviser blog at InfoWorld.com. For the latest business technology news, follow InfoWorld.com on Twitter.

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