Most IT pros think a company breach could threaten national security

IT pros are worried about their companies and the nation. A new survey bares their fears.
Written by Chris Matyszczyk, Contributing Writer
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Oh look. It's happened again.

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Technology is complicated.

So complicated that those who create it often don't realize the complications it engenders.

The result, as has become very clear, is that security becomes a chimera.

Lately, however, nations have expressed increasing hostility toward other nations. You might think the root cause of this is insecurity -- of the psychological kind.

But for everyday IT professionals, this is inciting increasing pressures and fears that grow like mushrooms beneath damp trees.

Also: These are the biggest cybersecurity threats. Make sure you aren't ignoring them

I drift to such (relative) philosophy on reading a new survey in which 1,000 senior IT professionals bared their feelings.

Yes, the vast majority said they were aware that the systems their company used every day had security vulnerabilities. Yes, the vast majority said they were concerned about protecting privacy. And yes, 60.7% of them said their company had experienced a cyberattack or data breach in the last year.

One might look at that and think: "Only 60.7% of them are honest enough to admit it?"

Here, though, is where these IT professionals considered the truly vast vulnerability in their own eyes. When asked, "Do you believe a breach of your organization could potentially constitute a threat to U.S. national security?", you might think most would temper their reaction.

Instead, a hearty 69.4% insisted they thought this was possible.

This may cause some to merely wonder how all our technological interconnectedness makes us ever more vulnerable. As former Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey observed not so long ago: "Centralizing discovery and identity into corporations really damaged the internet." It was a guilty observation.

It's a fine moment to consider who sponsored this research. It was a company called Zerify. You'll be startled to hear that it claims it can "keep business meetings secure, private, and compliant." It even claims to have more than 20 years experience doing it.

And good luck with that, if you believe the research you just sponsored.

81.8% of these 1,000 IT professionals said they'd seen an increase in nation-state cyber threats. It seems every day that more such attacks occur -- or rather, are reported to occur. Far too often, companies are reluctant to admit to breaches until many weeks, months, or even years later.

Perhaps some work quietly with the appropriate government entities before they alert anyone else. Maybe others worry only about their businesses and less about wider ramifications.

Meanwhile, IT professionals confess they're increasingly concerned.

Also: Ransomware: Why it's still a big threat, and where the gangs are going next

I don't want to worry you unduly. Even if another recent survey revealed that 70% of business leaders have no idea who's responsible for digital adoption within their companies.

That's the problem with caring about important things. Too often, it only happens when it's too late.

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