Some Spider-Sense to Kick Off 20 More Years of Cybersecurity Awareness

Charles Coon is the Senior Communications Manager for the Critical Infrastructure Digitalization and Resilience (CIDR) program; Alexander Riabov is a Senior Communications Advisor with DAI’s Digital Frontiers. Photo Credit: Suraj Ratna Shakya for USAID/Flickr “Spiderman,” as he was dubbed, worked for military intelligence as an undercover volunteer. As told by Nathan Thornburgh in Time, Spiderman, later identified as Shawn Carpenter—a US intel contractor by day—watched by night as hackers breached networks of the US military and made off with uncommon stealth. Spiderman “clung unseen to the walls of their chat rooms and servers,” following the stolen files from site to site, landing him virtually in China’s Guangdong province. When his private-sector employers found out what he was doing, they fired Carpenter and stripped him of his top-secret clearance for “inappropriate” after-hours sleuthing.  Around the same time, in October 2004, a small nonprofit called the National Cyber Security Alliance, together with the new US Department of Homeland Security, proclaimed the first National Cybersecurity Awareness Month. Their message: Update your antivirus software twice a year. Safe to say, cybersecurity awareness has come a long way since Spiderman got sacked. As we mark the 20th Cybersecurity Awareness Month, security threats continue to evolve while the need for cybersecurity preparedness has become abundantly clear. Integrating cybersecurity into the day-to-day of organizations and institutions across society can profoundly propel a country’s inclusion, economic growth, and infrastructure resilience.  As tomorrow’s cyber challenges are born, where might civil society, including the international development community, be well placed…Some Spider-Sense to Kick Off 20 More Years of Cybersecurity Awareness