Take back the Internet

The recent Sony cyber-attack should remind us all that our online lives are vulnerable

It’s strange how something as seemingly trivial as the release of a movie can trigger a terrorist cyber-attack and worldwide discussion of Internet privacy and freedom of speech. But that’s just what happened last week when, in a second attack on Sony this year, yet-unknown hackers threatened a 9/11-like attack should the film The Interview be released as promised on Christmas Day. (The movie, for those who’ve been living under a rock, stars James Franco and Seth Rogen as TV personalities who, in an attempt to revive their careers, head to North Korea, where they’ve also been tasked with assassinating supreme leader Kim Jong Un.)

While we agree with President Obama that Sony should not have cowed to the so-called terrorist hackers and agreed to not release the film, we are hopeful that this event will light a fire in America’s collective belly to take Internet security more seriously. Last week’s cover story (“Hackers gone wild,” by Chris Parker) highlighted some of the cyber-threats we’ve faced over the past few years and exposed our vulnerability when it comes to Internet breaches. Not all of these have targeted large corporations, either. Some are against individuals and because of that we need to start taking these things seriously.

In this day and age, many of our health records are now electronic, as are our taxes, bank information, you name it. We should take steps to safeguard our personal data, whether that means saving things on an external hard drive rather than “the cloud” or changing passwords every few months.

Don’t become complacent—take control of your cyber-life.