Oct 3, 2012

Can govts ever discuss cybersecurity without going over the top?

Occasionally, someone in government can talk about cybersecurity without becoming hysterical. But it's rare.

Bernard Keane — Politics editor

Bernard Keane

Politics editor

It was always a safe bet to suggest, as Crikey did last week, that the tide of stupid would keep rising when it came to self-interested reports. As if pre-arranged, US security software giant McAfee stepped forward a few days later with an “online safety survey” to show how terrified Americans were about cybersecurity, including that “90% of Americans do not feel completely safe” online and 25% had been exposed to a data breach. Cue inevitable dramatic headlines.

An actual look at the survey revealed some things that didn’t quite fit — that “90%” figure was based on a scale of 1 to 5, with 8% of Americans saying they felt completely safe (5), and another 33% saying they were relatively sanguine about it (4). Only 8% of Americans said they felt “completely unsafe”. And the “25%” figure was based on the question “have you been notified by any businesses, online service providers or an organization” about a data breach, which raised the amusing possibility that the survey result would be including fake security breach notifications that deliver malware and phishing attacks.

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10 thoughts on “Can govts ever discuss cybersecurity without going over the top?

  1. Damien

    The tide of stupid indeed – and not just here. I heard of a teenage girl (a cyber-friend of my daughter)in the Filipines just the other day who had a visit from the Police for tweeting that she didn’t like the Government. Apparently she was threatened with prison. Just shows, control freaks don’t like things they can’t control.

  2. Limited News

    A “cyber 9/11” would actually be a terrific excuse to shut down the US banking system for a few weeks, clean up their quadrillion-dollar derivatives mess and blame it all on Iran, Russia or China. If all else fails, the war hawks and Fed-led banker cartel will be only too happy to help each other out.

  3. Jim Bob

    As someone who works in the public service in IT I regard the greatest threat to our privacy to be Governments selling information about us to commercial entities.
    The Government departments do it now in order to raise operational funds and I notice that it is happening more frequently as budgets are cut.
    And of course as budgets are cut they are getting more sloppy about who, what and how information is sent.

  4. Patriot

    How exactly do the Greens imagine they will police their prohibitions on racіsm, ѕexism, homophobia, and all the other offensive isms and phobias without pervasive monitoring and recording of our activities? Never could work that out.

  5. zut alors

    When Melbourne’s traffic system suffered the computer glitch the morning I wondered if hackers were having a test run.

  6. paul walter

    What is this god-awful problem leaders have with discourse and dissent?
    For heaven’s sake, why shouldn’t people talk about the world they live in, wonder how things will turn out and seek out information on which to base their decision-making. Stuff of life.
    The politicians use the code world “criminal” as a euphemism for “dissenter”.
    Assange, Manning and the like are the big problem for them, but what’s the real reason they are hounded? Because they turn up things like that video of that helicopter gunship massacre of civilians in Iraq.
    I would have thought any individual with even a shred of decency would have been disturbed by it, but far from deciding to improve the conduct of the troops under their command, or just get out of places where they are not wanted, they try to expunge the sources of such revelations.
    They just don’t like accountability.
    They are like kids trying to hide that they’ve messed their diapers.

  7. TheFamousEccles

    It is exactly this kind of discussion that will be stored and pointed to as evidence of “dissent” . I now fear the late-night knock because somewhere I agreed that someone in government is not doing their job properly. Are we allowed to tweet from Aussie gulags?

    They couldn’t send us to an offshore rehabilitation resort, could they? I need to work on my tan.

  8. Greg Jones

    [Capitalism and government working hand-in-hand to sell more stuff and heighten hysteria.]

    There it is! The old firm of capitalism and government working hand in hand to enable slavery and freedom deprivation.

    It’s a bit like giving it to us up the khyber and making us pay for the privilege at the same time.

    Another very informative and poignant article in this series from Keane and Crikey.

  9. Rab Zen

    “The planet is being controlled, to an alarming extent, by elites, or, as I call them, cartels. There are many cartels, but 7 are the most powerful. They evolve, they learn from one another, they both compete and cooperate. Unfortunately, the trend is more towards cooperation. These 7 cartels represent the following areas: GOVERNMENT, MILITARY, INTELLIGENCE, ENERGY, MONEY, MEDIA, AND MEDICAL…..I came to this map of cartels through my own research on the medical monopoly. That’s where it started, in 1986. .. Once you understand these cartel elites, you can begin to separate out information into loose layers of importance, as in, which layer of the control game are we talking about? Because it’s all about layers. And at most layers, the players are forwarding agendas which they do not realize fit into higher and more destructive agendas.”–Jon Rappoport

  10. Tony Hancock

    “When Melbourne’s traffic system suffered the computer glitch the morning I wondered if hackers were having a test run.”

    That’s an interesting comment regarding traffic.

    Ever wondered why govts have a fixation for spending money on roads and what is actually achieved in the process? There are several interesting theories but for the sake of a tin-foil-hat and some credibility probably not worth discussing.

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