October is National Cybersecurity Awareness Month, a campaign created by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security to reinforce the importance of Internet security. This year, we hardly need reminding.
We have the history-making Equifax breach of late September to thank. The breach of the credit reporting company’s repositories compromised personal data of more than 145 million people, potentially affecting nearly half of the U.S. population. During a handful of congressional hearings on the topic in early October, former Equifax CEO Richard Smith said the breach was the result of technical errors, but mostly a human one — Smith blamed a single individual in the company’s technology department for not applying a security patch to a software vulnerability in a timely manner, therefore leaving a back door open for hackers.
However, much like the members of Congress who questioned Smith during the hearings, we should be asking how such a thing could happen. How could the safety of millions of people’s personal and financial information be, in essence, left in the hands of a single individual?
Sandra Smith, program director of Brown’s Executive Master in Science and Technology Leadership, believes the answer to that question comes down to leadership.
To read the entirety of Sandra’s CIO article, click here.