A call to arms for infosec professionals
by Brian Honan - CEO BH Consulting - Wednesday, 10 April 2013.
All of the above operators are creating what I see as a perfect storm of confusion and mistrust, which I believe will cause great damage to all computer and Internet users. Overhyped threats and a lack of understanding of the problem will lead to overreaction by governments as they respond to the threat de jour as presented to them by the lobby groups. In the effort to appear to be dealing with these perceived threats, governments may introduce new laws that may not only fail to solve the problem, but will also negatively impact our privacy and online freedoms. We can already see this happening with lobby groups representing media organizations. They are successfully pushing laws dealing with copyright changes in order to protect their industries while legislation such as the Convention on Cybercrime - which could help address a lot of the issues we face - is ignored.

To counter this, the information security community needs to step up and provide the leadership required to ensure we maintain the security of the Internet while preserving our freedoms and rights. We can no longer afford to let others such as vendors, lobby groups, or politicians drive the agenda.

So I ask each of you to use whatever influence you have to ensure that those making policy decisions, whether in business or otherwise, are properly informed of what the real issues and preferred solutions are. Engage in a positive way with others, especially those outside our community, using blogs, social media or commenting on news stories so they are better informed on what the real issues are. In addition to all this, we also need to speak up when vendors and other interest groups overhype an issue for their own gain, and challenge their assertions. Finally, contact politicians to point out the threats that we face from criminals, badly thought out legislation and lobby groups forcing attention away from the real issues.

The Internet is a fantastic place, let’s take make the effort to ensure it remains that way.

Brian Honan is an independent security consultant based in Dublin, Ireland, and is the founder and head of IRISSCERT, Ireland's first CERT. He is a Special Advisor to the Europol Cybercrime Centre, an adjunct lecturer on Information Security in University College Dublin, and he sits on the Technical Advisory Board for a number of innovative information security companies. He has addressed a number of major conferences, he wrote the book ISO 27001 in a Windows Environment and co-author of The Cloud Security Rules. He regularly contributes to a number of industry recognized publications and serves as the European Editor for the SANS Institute's weekly SANS NewsBites.


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