If we can’t trust technology we won’t (and shouldn’t) use it

Walking this year’s Mobile World Congress I am no longer thrown by the devices, gadgets and flashy booths, but completely mystified at how we as an industry continue to hype up the idea of a truly connected world without addressing one of the most important pieces – security.

As someone who’s been in the industry for almost 20 years, you’d expect me to be shocked that many businesses still aren’t addressing something so key, especially as consumers are starting to question it. In the last year, more people than ever have started asking me: “So Raj, what about my security?”

Hurrah – finally – some people are catching on, and at least asking the question. But whether or not they’ll act upon it is what concerns me…

Don’t get me wrong. Whilst it’s great some people are waking up to the realities that come with a connected lifestyle which, let’s admit is everyone at this stage, there is still a lot of work to do. Ultimately, it’s the industry’s – that’s right, every single person at MWC and beyond – job to lead this.

Because at the moment we’re failing. Our recent survey, for example, found half of us have no idea how to check if our devices have ever been compromised and a third are unsure how to check if a device has been breached. So although many may be starting to consider device security, it doesn’t mean they necessarily know how to manage it. Yet, here we are at MWC giving these same people even more technologically advanced devices to play with – when we know most are unsure how to protect themselves – whether that’s with their phones, computers, kids toys, or now – connected homes and cars.

The truth is that with awesome technology comes great responsibility.  So what do we – both consumers and businesses alike – do to ensure that such technology coming out of big shows like this are safe?

  • Put security first: security cannot be an afterthought in any device manufacturing process. It must be considered upfront by manufacturers in order for any underlining issues to be addressed and catered to
  • Be transparent: enough of the hiding, let’s be honest with consumers about the risks associated with using certain technology. Instead of hiding away and hoping it’s all ok, vendors must at least educate and advise the user on how to best protect themselves including recommending security software suitable for that technology
  • Take control: whilst I want to see manufacturers leading the way when it comes to security, consumers can and should do their bit too. Take device security at home for example where the home network is the hub for all connected devices. New solutions, such as McAfee Secure Home Platform, will help people easily manage and protect devices connected to this network while providing parental controls with permissions that can be tailored to the entire household

 

We must be able to trust the new technology that’s making our world a hyper-connected one – as inventors, product developers, manufacturers, technology leaders from the word ‘go’ in our development cycles, through to the consumers’ lives when they use it. Trust has fallen down across our societies because of all the security hacks, risks and wider vulnerabilities that technology has opened up. It’s our job – each and every one of us – to help change that via our actions as an industry. Let’s continue producing amazing and innovative technology that helps change and advance our lives, but let’s protect ourselves – our friends, our economies, our neighbours and the wider industry – while we do. The more we can work together to build this trust, the better off each technology will be for everyone.

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