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Tuesday, December 7, 2021

Tae Kim: The fragile internet is a threat to the economy

These were tough months for the Internet.

In June, Fastly Inc. some of the world’s largest e-commerce and media sites have been shut down. Later, there were massive data leaks on the Twitch streaming service T-Mobile US Inc. and Amazon.com Inc. And this month, the main social network Facebook Inc., Instagram and WhatsApp, were down for about six hours. Then it happened again, albeit shorter.

There was a single corporate response to all incidents. It looks something like this: Sorry, this was an unintentional configuration error, next time we’ll do better! After Facebook shutdown, the CTO of security software company Cloudflare Inc. called it a reminder of the fragile nature of the Internet, where millions of interconnected systems depend on each other to make it work.

There was a time in the early days of the Internet when these excuses were acceptable. But the Internet and many of these companies now form the backbone of the modern economy. Billions of consumers and millions of small businesses rely on Facebook’s communication tools for their daily lives. If the net is held together with rubber bands and toothpicks, it is clear that the US needs to take urgent action to mitigate these vulnerabilities.

What can be done? First, we must hold companies accountable if they do not implement proper security measures and security policies. The very frequency of problems shows that the industry as a whole does not take the problem seriously. Companies do not prioritize the problem and do not invest enough funds to solve it. This is why it is important to make negligence more painful by increasing financial penalties and making management teams more accountable.

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T-Mobile is one of the most striking examples. According to The Wall Street Journal, the self-proclaimed hacker claimed to have been able to break into the wireless carrier’s systems through an unsecured router, with devastating consequences. In August, the company said it had compromised the identity of nearly 50 million accounts, including some social security numbers and driver’s licenses. Incredibly, this latest incident is T-Mobile’s fifth data breach in three years.

Another possible solution is to strengthen government control. Since Facebook and Fastly claim that their outages were caused by simple employee errors, I shudder at the damage a scammer or government-sponsored entity could do. Just as the Federal Reserve’s banking inspectors seek to avert systemic risk by working on the ground in financial institutions, a new group of regulators should be empowered to review the redundancy and security plans of key technology companies. At a minimum, we need to do our best to reduce the number of network configuration errors in the future.

Yes, the Biden administration has recognized the importance of a country’s vulnerability on the Internet in terms of national security and economic security. But so far, the White House has done little to strictly regulate the private sector other than developing voluntary standards. Governments need to be more decisive.

We can’t let go of the company anymore. There is still a lot to be done to prevent the worst-case scenario from becoming a reality.

World Nation News Deskhttps://www.worldnationnews.com
World Nation News is a digital news portal website. Which provides important and latest breaking news updates to our audience in an effective and efficient ways, like world’s top stories, entertainment, sports, technology and much more news.
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