When it comes to cybersecurity, companies need force fields, not walls

The threat landscape has changed so dramatically, so fast that it has outpaced previously sound security practices.

There is a fracture in our modern way of life. The crack is imperceptible to most, even though it’s a dire threat. The public sees the recent headlines about the HBO hack and the company’s proprietary information being held ransom for $6 million, or reads reports of last year’s DNC breach. But these news stories don’t inspire anxiety the way that, say, a terrorist shooting would. Perhaps understandably, the concept of leaked “Game of Thrones” episodes or illicitly shared emails seems, to many people, cause for personal embarrassment, not national emergency.

Now imagine that the same bad actors attack the U.S. electric grid with malware and cause a multistate outage. (It has already happened in other countries.) Or cyberterrorists breach our water-treatment facilities and tamper with the ratio of chemicals in the cleaning process. Or what if so-called “black hats” shut down ATM networks and the banking system — do you have paper statements or screengrabs of your last balance to prove how much is in your accounts?

Imagine being deprived of electricity, water or money for food and medicine. Does that now qualify as grounds for alarm?

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