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[ISN] Cybersecurity Hype


By Jim Harper
Cato @ Liberty
February 21, 2012

The approving response of an IT security professional last week pointed me to a story about cybersecurity in which Iâm featured. The story and accompanying video are called: âIs Cyberwar Hype Fuelling a Cybersecurity-Industrial Complex?â Itâs a really good look at how government contractors, many former government officials, are working Washington to generate an issue.

How rare is it that a cybersecurity news report includes even a word of doubt about the nature and scope of the threat? How rare is it that any news report includes a word of doubt about the nature and scope of threats?

My correspondent, who works at a public utility in IT security, said some things that are fascinating and important.

    We are being asked to do things that have no practical risk
    reduction value purely for the perceived benefit. It takes no
    effort to say that the cyber world is about to end yet it takes
    tremendous effort to continually demonstrate that we are prepared
    for anything.

In other words, operators of so-called âcritical infrastructureâ are already wasting effort on things that look like improved security because theyâre in the position of proving that nothing could ever go wrong. This is because cybersecurity fear-mongerers are spinning apocalyptic tales. Imagine what it will be like when varied government bureaucracies are calling on the private sector to prove they are implementing endlessly varying, imagination-based federal cybersecurity dictates.


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