Citizens Are the Missing Cybersecurity Link

In the national effort to protect the electric grid and financial transaction records, individual computer users play a more important role than they might realize.

In an article on the University of Cincinnati news site, Carey Hoffman says the role the public can play in cybersecurity rarely gets mentioned in government plans to tackle cybercrime. That’s according to Richard Harknett and James Stever, UC Political Science faculty members whose recent article in the “Journal of Homeland Security and Emergency Management” made the case for increased citizen awareness and participation.

“The general population must be engaged as active security providers, not simply beneficiaries of security policy, because their practices often create the threats to which government must respond,” wrote Harknett and Stever. They gave the example of last July’s hijacking of up to 50,000 computers for use in an attack on Web sites operated by the US and South Korean governments.

The authors called these kinds of threats the “weakest link” in our national cybersecurity. They said computer users need to understand the implications of not adhering to safe computer practices regarding passwords, security software and downloading protocols, which “can open a door for those with much more malevolent goals than just infecting individual computers with viruses or spyware.”

To read the article, please click here: