Of Afghan poppies and high-heeled shoes

The Afghanistan poppy problem is perhaps more analogous to cybersecurity. If you are not familiar with the issue, here’s a short course from a reliable source: http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/frontline/article/why-eradication-wont-solve-afghanistans-poppy-problem/.

How do either of these analogies relate to cybersecurity? Because they demonstrate you cannot apply post facto regulation to a human enterprise that has existed for decades (or centuries) in which powerful, well-entrenched interests have established an absolute dependency upon things remaining as they are, and upon which even the rank-and-file players within the industry are dependent. The cybersecurity industry we know today is controlled by players who have controlled it for decades, and this year alone are expected to profit from it into the hundreds of billions of dollars (in the aggregate). The problem domain itself (losses from cybertheft) is expected to reach two trillion dollars this years, and six trillion dollars by 2021 (per Gartner and others). This means all of these companies taking billions in profits annually from consumers have been doing so without solving the problem one whit, and that continued growth of their markets (and stock prices) with very little invested in effective technology  is completely dependent upon at least the perceived threat vector growing to the expected $6 trillion dollar uninhibited (by us).

If our technology solves, as expected, the bulk of the cybersecurity problem, the threat vector virtually disappears, and along with it all those billions of dollars in profits being made today as we speak by not solving the problem, and being made by powerful corporations with huge political foot prints. That’s not to mention the power and wealth of the state actors increasingly invested on the other side of the coin, who would like things to remain as they are to keep the act of hacking as easy and profitable as it is today.

So, as you can see, the challenge of solving cybersecurity was (comparatively) easy. The far bigger challenge lying ahead of us will be solving for Afghan poppies and high-heeled shoes.


F. Scott Deaver

2017-08-30T07:11:12+00:00August 30th, 2017|