Robert Scarlett is fluent in a few different languages and began his speech in the Little Theater at St. James High School by introducing himself in Spanish.His speech is called “Cyber Security – The New Frontier” and is about the dangers and advantages created by the interconnectedness of the world.
Scarlett began using the internet in the 1980s, when the internet was a relatively unknown term and accessible through dial-up modems. Since that time he has gone on to help dozens of companies develop their product internationally. For Scarlett, the necessity of cyber security is an every day thing.
“Internet raises the base of competition all over the world,” said Scarlett. “So you have to compete on a global scale, not just with the business down the road.”
As Scarlett explained, where there was once six degrees of separation, there are now only 4.74. We are drawn together by the internet. But, that isn’t always a good thing.
Placing all of our information on the web leaves us vulnerable to cyber security attacks, such as identity theft, bullying, pranks and denial of service attacks.
“A denial of service attack is when you go to a website and it’s so slow you can’t get any service from that site,” said Scarlett. “Hackers organize a bunch of servers to send information to that site so those people who really need to or want to use that site can’t load it.”
This type of attack is used more regularly than we usually hear. Banks and social media sites have often been the target of denial of service attacks.
“You don’t hear about these attacks because people don’t want you to know they are that vulnerable to these attacks,” said Scarlett.
Any information placed on the web is susceptible to a cyber attack. That is why it is important to use all of the security tools available to protect your identity. Tools available will assess your susceptibility, which will allow you to prevent the attack. They will also allow you to recognize if your computer or mobile device has been corrupted and respond to that attack.
At this time, cyber security is a real issue, and it has not been politically addressed. Scarlett explained legislation was presented in congress, but was shot down through a Republican filibuster. These are hurdles the United States will likely have to jump as we move forward, because cyber attacks are the threat of the future.
“Drones are another threat to our way of life,” said Scarlett. “In the future people can spy on us with drones and see things we don’t want them to see – frankly, they are capable now – they can see a license plate from space.”
Page 2 of 2 - How we respond to cyber threats in the future is yet to be determined. New legislation and laws will need to develop as what was once science fiction becomes reality. Scarlett attempted to see the positive side of the new threat.
“Maybe this is a good thing,” said Scarlett. “Maybe we will use less money and less weapons to solve problems in the future.”
In the future we may see fully equipped geeks rather than fully equipped soldiers. For now, it looks like it will take a major cyber attack for people to really take cyber security seriously in the United States.