The internet is a wonderful invention. A way to connect pretty much everyone with most of the information that exists. Want to know the latest on Brexit or climate change or international oil markets? Find it online. Want to know why this war or that famine started and what life was like then? Find it online. Want to know why that guy in the taco commercial looks so darn familiar? Yep, find it online.
Internet in your pocket might be the most important invention man has given itself. But that great gift came with a huge caveat. Yes, you are connected to everything … but everyone is also connected to you. Never have humans been so vulnerable. Their information is out there for the taking, no matter how well protected they assume it may be.
Nations and companies have tried a lot of different things to make hacks less possible and people less vulnerable. Russia’s even fighting with LinkedIn right now after passing a law that requires social media companies to store Russian account information on Russian servers. Other countries, doubtful of international security, may decide to do the same.
Because the reality is, the internet is not secure, no matter how much we wish it were. This was the topic of a recent tech security conference in California. One speaker, Betsy Cooper of UC Berkeley’s Center for Long-Term Cybersecurity, put it this way: “The internet of things is something that cannot be fully secured… We just have to assume that there is a risk.”
Assume there’s a risk. Okay, but how do consumers deal with that very real fear. It’s one thing to “know” it exists, but people don’t want to know about it. They want to know what to do about it. That’s the difference … and that’s the rub on this issue.
What To Do About It is a deep well without a bottom anyone can see. The answers look like the world’s worst spaghetti diagram. There are too many factors, too many variables to try to draw a clear line of delineation that anyone can follow. Stop one problem, great. But someone is already working on another way in.
The game is all about lowering risk, and the PR message brands should send to consumers must include specific ways they are lowering risk. It’s not something consumers want to think about, so it shouldn’t be right out there in their faces, but when an attack or a hack makes headlines, brands should have their reassurances ready to calm frayed nerves. Consumers understand there are risks, but they don’t really understand what they are and how they work. They want to “feel” safe, and that’s what brands need to deliver.