The three largest network morning news shows are often what Americans have on in the background as we get ready for work or school. You’ll find the headlines, pop culture, and maybe some shopping bargains from time to time. They generally cover the top stories of the day but are not known for their likelihood to always address the hard-hitting stories in detail. If cybersecurity is on the docket, it’s going to be in reference to a retailer being breached, or something that would affect the public like the Colonial Pipeline ransomware story – and only because we saw people filling plastic bags full of gasoline as a result of that. That part was more newsworthy than the breach itself. You’ll get the general story, but it’s the fallout that is usually more interesting. Rather than a headline of “RANSOMWARE PAID”, you’ll likely see “LONG LINES AT THE STATION AS PEOPLE FILL MILK JUGS WITH GASOLINE!” instead.
So, this week, when one of the major networks did a piece on cybersecurity, we paused. It wasn’t more than a few minutes long, but it focused on how easy it was for two “mercenary hackers” to break into a business facility and deploy hardware and software that would soon cripple that network into paying a ransom fee to get back control. First, a mercenary hacker is one of the good guys. They are hired by companies to expose the risks and flaws within a company’s system before the “bad” hackers get to it first. Proactivity is something we love to see and encourage.
The details of this story were pretty surface level; they weren’t diving into the codes and methods of how exactly the breach could occur, but they did show just how easy it was for two ‘average’ guys to take down a seemingly large operation. These weren’t people in hoodies operating out of an eastern Europe warehouse in the dark, to take down a major financial house, as we might see in a movie.
Why is this significant? Because it is a great example of how cybersecurity is (thankfully) becoming part of our vernacular. What might have once been industry-specific news, is now part of the information being dispersed to the general public, and that creates awareness. Whether you’re an individual in the technology sector, or someone who simply uses it at work, YOU, the human, are an essential part of the link in strong cyber posture. And if you don’t know about the threat, you can’t respond to it, right?
Awareness is key, and when one of the largest news platforms starts to make it part of their lineup, it makes it easier for everyone who is fighting cybercrime – which is all of us.