I want you to teach a person to drive a car using the following outline:
- Teach them where the accelerator is and how to use that
- Teach them where the brake is and how to use that
- Teach them where the mirrors are and how to use them
- Teach them how to turn on the car, how to turn off the car
- How to fill the car with gas and where to put it
- Where the light switch is and how to turn it on and off
- Where the radio switch is and how to operate that
- How to read the speedometer
I am sure that I skipped some steps, but you get the drift. What you want to teach the potential driver is the “buttonology” of the car. You fail to tell them about the dangers of driving, the rules of the road, how to be courteous and otherwise how to have consideration for others. What is the probability this “driver” will have an accident the first day they are driving? I am a statistician and I would take odds on this one!
Let’s segue to computers. That’s right, computers!
How do we teach computers today? We teach buttonology, how to associate functions with pressing of the buttons. Want email? Do this combination of buttons. Get an app, or get on the internet? Push this series of buttons.
There are no classes on the rules of the road, the ethics of using a computer or the dangers associated with using a computer. If that were compared to diving a car, basically what you are saying is that we should all go out to our car and cut the brake lines and then drive the car. We may make it to our location, but chances are we will crash and burn. The same is said for operating a computer without the guidance necessary in the area of cybersecurity.
Cybersecurity. The very name raises images of dark figures hiding in the shadows, plotting the overthrow of a computer network. Yes, the black hatted individual that spends their days planning to attack a network for a variety of reasons, whether they be money, fame, or maybe rationalization that the attack will right a wrong. Ah, cybersecurity. It is meant for people who are the target of the attacker, not for normal people like you and me.
Hmmm. Then maybe none of us need driver training but the people who operate commercial vehicles, or maybe we can all get pilots’ licenses, after all only commercial airline pilots are meant to REALLY learn about flying a plane!
Maybe this is a little bit hyperbole, but I have talked to a number of people who believe that computer training is one thing, cybersecurity is another. Ladies and gentlemen, that is like saying that there are five unrelated fingers on your hand! Every finger works as part of the whole hand. The same can be said about computer training and cybersecurity training. Did you know that your brand new computer comes configured so that ANYONE can have access to that computer from the internet? A simple configuration change can eliminate that threat. Did you know that you can be tracked through your cell phone; or that people can access your microphone and video camera from your phone? Many people realize they can, but fail to correct that situation. Do you have a passcode on your phone? Do you have a privacy screen on your phone? All of this is part of keeping yourself safe while using a device you know the location of buttons. Without good cybersecurity education, you are putting yourself at risk every time you get online.
The sad part of this whole situation is that our children are using devices at very young ages and do not understand the consequences of their use. Would you put them in a car without education and let them drive to the store? Of course not! Why are continuing to let our children learn functions without learning consideration of their actions?
I teach senior citizens cybersecurity and I wanted to get the word out so I contacted a local paper. The editor responded that it sounded okay, but they just did an article on seniors learning computers and that it might take a while before something else was done on this subject.
Can you now see what I am discussing here in this article? If we fail to protect ourselves, we are just placing more people “on the road” without seat-belts and brakes! Worse than that, we are giving people the ability to get scammed because they “trust” the network they are on at any time. We do not implement protections and thereby put our loved ones in harm’s way. We do it inadvertently, but we do it nonetheless.
How can we start to turn around this spiraling of our computer users? First, look toward the basic cybersecurity courses (there are plenty that are free on www.cybrary.it as well as other sites). Yes, there are classes in hacking, but there are plenty that show defensive measures to keep yourself safe while using your computer, cell phone, or other technology. If we fail to keep pace with safety and security, we are contributing to the increasing cyber crime. After all, what better way to encourage cyber criminals than to place someone on the computer network that does not understand the protections necessary to be secure and safe. If that is case, take your teenager and give them the car before they get their license and let them drive it wherever they want.
If that be the case, one more fact before I let you go on with your internet surfing. There are approximately 3.6 BILLION internet users according to http://www.internetlivestats.com/internet-users/ and there are “only” approximately 1 BILLION cars on the road according to http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2011/08/23/car-population_n_934291.html. From these numbers, which of the elements – computers or cars – present the most threat? If I were a criminal, would I want to steal a car or steal a computer network (without you knowing)? You decide.
That last part made your anxious – admit it. Let’s all start to educate our users better and keep cyber crime at bay. Otherwise, you need to get off the grid, because it is about to get ugly (or uglier)!
Learn, Offer, Value, Educate (LOVE)
“Silver Hats” founder