Will the internet’s insecurities damage economic growth?

“No country is cyber-ready” warns Melissa Hathaway, author the Cyber-Readiness Report.

Hathaway’s warning is that the economic benefits of the internet are being lost to the various vulnerabilities in our information infrastructure.

Dutch research company TNO claims that the Netherlands lost up to 2% of their GDP to cybercrime in 2010 and Hathaway claims similar losses are being incurred in other developed countries.

Supporting Hathaway’s views at a function in Sydney today, Cisco System’s Senior Vice President and Chief Security Officer, John Stewart, made a frightening observation about corporate networks.

“Every single customer we have checked with, and these are the Fortune 2000, has high threat malware operating in their environment – every single one of them.”

So the bad guys are in our networks and causing real economic damage. The question for businesses and governments is how do we manage this threat and mitigate any losses?

On our more intimate level, how do we manage our own systems and online behaviour to limit our personal or business losses?

Hathaway makes the point that the internet was never intended to do the job we now expect it to do and as consequence security was never built into the net’s design.

Today, we rely upon the internet regardless of its lack of inbuilt security. With everyone from governments through to organised crime and petty scammers wanting to peek at our data, we have to start taking security far more seriously.

About the author

Paul Wallbank is the founding editor of Networked Globe and has nearly twenty years experience of working in and reporting on computers, the internet and the future of our connected society.