Saturday, March 24, 2018

Women in tech, and cybersecurity comments

In the April, 2017 issue of Communications of the ACM, Valerie Barr notes, "Approximately 45% of women entering tech leave within five years while only 17% of men leave. Bringing more women into tech has not succeeded in changing the climate there...".
Women, mentor your female peers to encourage them to stick around. Men, be careful with your language and subconscious actions; don't use the word "girl" in a professional setting, and respect all of your colleagues equally.

In the same issue, John Arquilla (in a blog post) and a panel of experts (Brent Waters, Dan Boneh, Len Aldeman, and Patrick McDaniel) comment on cybersecurity. I paraphrase here.
The United States recently passed an omnibus bill to fund the government until September. President Trump gushed over substantial funding to "build our military". I say, we don't need more weapons or soldiers. We need the federal government as a whole, including the Department of Defense, to be outfitted with modern computers and software in order to improve our national security. The news is not all bad, but a serious attack on American networks could disrupt government, energy production, transportation (including food distribution) and more. If you're running old versions of Windows in support of your personal email server, you're at risk.

Americans pride themselves on a tradition of individualism and personal independence, but we're apoplectic over fake news and the use of our personal data. It's just not that difficult to identify suspicious news and to verify it. If you don't want your personal data disseminated, then don't post it on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and your personal blog. Take responsibility.