The Count and Cybersecurity

Dateline: January 26, 2018

Welcome to our Friday WRAP – one thought-provoking idea to think about over the weekend.

This week I’m teaching a short course at MIT on the managing and leading cybersecurity.  One key theme of this program is the importance of managing the people in the ecosystem since it’s been observed over and over that the human risk is significant (and possibly much larger than any technical risk).  Then yesterday, IEEE Spectrum published a wonderful article titled, What the Count of Monte Cristo Can Teach Us About Cybersecurity, written by author and computer scientist David Allen Grier. He wrote,

What can a 174-year-old French novel possibly have to say about cybersecurity? Quite a lot, it turns out. Alexandre Dumas’s The Count of Monte Cristo was published in 1844, and so he of course knew nothing about the Internet and probably little about electricity. But the writer had a keen understanding of human nature and how people interact with technology, and he saw how technological attacks could by engineered by exploiting personal foibles.

The article weaves the tale of the Count of Monte Cristo using a 2017 tech lens.  Definitely worth reading.  Mr. Grier concludes with,

Readers of The Count of Monte Cristo naturally want to identify with the hero, a man who ultimately gets all that he wants: wealth, knowledge, and revenge on his persecutors. Yet Dumas suggests that we the readers might not be the hero—we might instead be the operator who succumbs to bribery or the secretary who’s willing to undermine the telegraph. Technical weaknesses can be found in all communications systems, but often the greatest weakness is found among the people who operate and use them.

People have always been a weak link in the People-Process-Technology triad.  What are you doing to increase the cyber-resiliancy of your people?  Other than annual training of cybersecurity policies, what will help them understand and act in a manner that reduces the human side of cyber-risk?

That’s a WRAP!  Have a great weekend!

Speak Your Mind