This week, we are tracking a sea change in Europe’s 16-year-old data protection policies. Although the regulatory overhaul ostensibly targets online advertising and social-networking sites, its implications extend to every company and organization that encompasses users on the Continent and the UK. Companies that fall astray of the proposed legislation could be fined up to two per cent of their global turnover.
A month ago, NetworkWorld asked me to take a side on whether we’re winning the cyber security war. As you can see from the post, which appeared today, I argued the “We’re Losing” side. I pointed to the extravagant numbers we’ve seen regarding cybercrime growth, recent concessions by top government officials who’ve flatly stated they can’t protect their IT systems and the growing sophistication of today’s cyber attacks. It’s time we adopted a zero tolerance policy.
Read the full piece, voice your opinion in a comment and vote on the issue here.
Another major breach is in the headlines. Zappos, an online shoe and apparel retailer owned by Amazon, disclosed Sunday night that more than 24 million of its customer accounts had been compromised. Hackers accessed customer names, email addresses, phone numbers, the last four digits of credit card numbers, and cryptographically scrambled passwords.
Historians will label 2011 as the year when our IT security infrastructure failed us. The RSA and Sony breaches, attacks by Anonymous and LulzSec, even WikiLeaks drove home to the broad marketplace that when it comes to data security, cyber attackers can take down systems and steal data at will.
The worst thing is, we all saw it coming. We’re trapped in a reverse “Groundhog Day” scenario where things keep repeating but get worse instead of better. It brings to mind Winston Churchill’s adage, “Those that fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it.”
The winter holiday season is when the idea of giving – and receiving – the perfect gift becomes a national obsession. The definition of the ultimate present will vary from person to person and from decade to decade. It should address both a Want and a Need, with a generous dollop of Really Cool on top. If you were a housewife in 1950, who was often raised with a hand-cranked washing machine or none at all, one of the most magical presents to get would have been an automatic washing machine. If you are a digitally-enabled person in 2011, and spend your days inventing and remembering different 17-digit passwords, here’s a thought on the ultimate present for you.