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Takeaways from the National Press Club Awards Dinner – the Internet is Insecure

by Avivah Litan  |  March 8, 2012  |  Comments Off on Takeaways from the National Press Club Awards Dinner – the Internet is Insecure

I was excited to go to the National Press Club Awards Dinner last night and found the evening very inspiring, thought provoking and educational. A few highlights:

a) a 24 year old reporter at a small town newspaper, the Patriot Ledger, (the editor made jokes saying the national media considered them microscopic with just 19 reporters) is the one who broke the Joe Paterno story. It may not have been broken without her. She had to hang tough.

b) Mike Wallace from Fox news was inspired by three great men – each in different ways. The most interesting anecdote was how his Step-dad, former CBS News President Bill Leonard, made major broadcasts when their car hit certain mileage milestones, like 10,000 or 20,000 miles. Mike was a little boy in the backseat and that’s how he got his training. He learned to blow up the importance of this seemingly small event.

c) and for you/us technoids, Eric Schmidt from Google gave what I thought was a brilliant talk in a short time. He talked about the coming explosion in connectivity in the world since only 2 billion people are online now, but the other 5 billion will come online with mobile devices in the next few years.

d) What really hit home for me was when Eric talked about the fact that security is a major issue going forward- there are lots of bad guys including nation states that want to harm others.

e) Here’s the major takeaway statement for me that Eric made: “The Internet wasn’t designed with security in mind.” He said he knows because he was part of that design. And he went on to say that “no one expected all these bad guys to show up. And they did.” And he reiterated that it will take many years to go back and change all the servers and computers that are out there to change this fundamental problem.

Surprise Surprise? Seems like we are doing this all over again with the rollout of mobile applications. Many of them are designed without any security in mind whatsoever.

f) One other major takeway – we’ve all heard it before – but it had more impact on me last night. Erice made this one as well: We are an interrupt driven society. It’s painful for us not to look at our blackberries and smartphones. And that means we are not spending enough ‘think time’. Our kids are online from the moment they wake up to the moment they fall asleep. Chances are they don’t have much ‘think time’ either. and that’s a MAJOR problem.

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Avivah Litan
VP Distinguished Analyst
19 years at Gartner
34 years IT industry

Avivah Litan is a Vice President and Distinguished Analyst in Gartner Research. Ms. Litan's areas of expertise include endpoint security, security analytics for cybersecurity and fraud, user and entity behavioral analytics, and insider threat detection. Read Full Bio

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