Juniper Networks exec: 'First-world outrage' will not help cyber security

Summary:Cyber attacks post a greater threat than terrorism, suggests one Juniper Networks exec. But public apathy seems to be overshadowing the severity of the situation.

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SAN FRANCISCO---We are all complicit with attacks on privacy and sensitive data, according to Nawaf Bitar, senior vice president and general manager of the security business unit at Juniper Networks.

Speaking at the 2014 RSA Conference on Tuesday morning, Bitar lectured that we are witnessing the symptoms of a new disease: "first-world outrage."

"Our privacy is being invaded. The public trust is at a whole time low. The attack on our information is outrageous," Bitar remarked. "But you know what, I don't think we give a damn. I'm fed up with talking about outrage. It's easy to talk about outrage."

"Our privacy is being invaded. The public trust is at a whole time low. The attack on our information is outrageous," Bitar remarked. "But you know what, I don't think we give a damn. I'm fed up with talking about outrage. It's easy to talk about outrage."

Bitar argued that "liking a cause on Facebook" or "retweeting a link" are not appropriate displays of outrage. 

"Not showing up at a conference is not outrage," Bitar continued, drawing some applause from the keynote audience as he referenced a brief outcry on social media last month following more revelations from Edward Snowden about a connection between the RSA and the National Security Agency.

A group of speakers who pulled out of the RSA Conference set up a rival one-day security conference , TrustyCon.

But beyond cyber attacks and the associated ramifications, Bitar suggested we're now witnessing the greatest threat of all: apathy.

"You in this room have the prowess and capital to demand better, but we stand by watching our privacy erode," Bitar lamented.

In defending just how far apathy has taken over the public attitude, Bitar pointed beyond just security breaches targeting retail chains and cloud storage providers to the discussion of gun laws in the wake of the attack in Newtown, Conn. to the "financial industry pushing toxic mortgages on unsuspecting investors."

Bitar theorized that we'll only move to action when "real values" are attacked, defining that there are only two that we really care about: family and money.

Privacy, he reflected, is "long gone," but he warned it is "high time we added our information" to the list.

"Cyber attacks that steal information are a daily occurrence," Bitar said. "Data is one of our most prized possessions, and we should treat it as such."

Topics: Security, Enterprise 2.0, IT Priorities, Networking, Tech Industry

About

Rachel King is a staff writer for CBS Interactive based in San Francisco, covering business and enterprise technology for ZDNet, CNET and SmartPlanet. She has previously worked for The Business Insider, FastCompany.com, CNN's San Francisco bureau and the U.S. Department of State. Rachel has also written for MainStreet.com, Irish Americ... Full Bio

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