Continuing our look into our special Heartbleed Anniversary report, we delve into the expertise of Nuala O’Connor, President & CEO, Center for Democracy & Technology who sheds light on the need for diligence in the digital age.
O’Connor, recognized internationally as an expert on technology policy, privacy, and information governance, believes the tides are starting to change as consumers wake up to the risks online. She notes that “there’s a growing sense of unease, post Heartbleed. People are growingly concerned about the communication and transmission online”.
O’Connor cites the rising number of high profile breaches as the reason behind this: “We’ve seen some pretty big incidents that have awakened consumers and big brands…The Sony breach is a perfect example…There is a growing awareness that data is one of our biggest assets.”
Despite this mounting mindfulness of the risks, O’Connor agrees that there is still a great deal of action required to combat the danger, with “the breaches of last year showing that there is a long way to go in every sector of the industry.” O’Connor also warns that the worst may also be yet to come as she muses, “We’ve just seen the tip of the iceberg in terms of digital life and harm to reputation…”
If consumers are to take the necessary action, O’Connor believes education and exposure to the right security products will be key: “People do care about these issues… but that they don’t know the extent of the tools that are available today. I think there’s a huge opportunity for the tech industry to provide easily deployable tools that keep us much safer.”
When it comes to protecting ourselves online, O’Connor’s focus is to “be mindful of what you’re putting out there, because once you put it out there it’s never coming back… My personal concern is location privacy… I never post location anywhere… It’s very hard to get stuff back once you put it other there so be very careful in the first place.” Furthermore, O’Connor agrees that “changing your passwords and using good password security and basic preventative measures is the number one thing to do. You’re only as strong as your weakest link.”