Monday, January 21, 2013

Internet Security and Broad Daylight

Thieves operate under the cover of darkness. It shields them from what would otherwise be watchful eyes, keeping a look out in their neighborhood. Broad daylight makes criminal activity a little more difficult to execute, because the thieve is naturally exposed. This obstacle alone stands in the way — it acts as a security barrier. But the internet is not like that at all. Not only is there no such thing as broad daylight in cyberspace, but the whole idea of neighborhood doesn't really make sense. Security online amounts to every man for himself.

Imagine a thief probing your residence for vulnerabilities. At night, if they have the right skill set, they might get away with profiling your property once. Should they decide to break and enter, this is also a one-time affair, successful or not. If the criminal cannot break down your front door, it's a little difficult to try again without being noticed — either by the occupant, or by the neighborhood. This type of one-shot chance of success is a security feature. The broad-daylight, coupled with the collective neighborhood watch, makes for a considerable deterrent.

Is there such a thing in cyberspace? Do internet thieves have a considerable advantage over their physical world counterparts when it comes to probing for vulnerabilities? We can take measures against this type of activity, but there certainly isn't the same degree of protectiveness afforded by broad daylight. Nor is there any such thing as a neighborhood. This has to change. There is no reason we cannot publish suspicious activities to our friends and neighbors. Not only that, but make it no secret that we do so. Make it known that we look out for one another when it comes to safeguarding our digital properties. By doing so, we make the risks of intrusion known. Internet thieves aren't stupid. They can appreciate weighing risk against gain.