While America is perhaps the leading light of work tech, the general populace does not reflect the high rate of development. A report by The Hill highlighted the many times the USA has already shown vulnerability in the face of cyber attack, and a key factor that has led to this is, according to the report, low levels of cyber literacy. The average American does not have the knowledge and skills necessary to stay safe at every moment of their interactions on the web. Resolving this could be a matter of national security, and it starts with basic digital hygiene principles concerning that most 21st century resource: data.
The internet is such a highly interlinked system that every interaction spawns a dozen other data points. As Foreign Policy highlights, this phenomenon – the ‘digital footprint’ – is incredibly easy to match to real-life. For internet users, business owners and amateurs alike, understanding how they take and receive data is important. This is especially important when considering dynamic content compliance. Many of the tools and features of modern websites and services use and demand data by their very operation. Personalized content is very important in modern business, and that relies entirely on dynamic content that is, by its nature, packed with sensitive data. Understanding this, and retaining tight control and monitoring of the data, is important.
Countering information flow and breaches is key to the process of protecting information and data. Financial information and personal details can be used to steal identities, and these need to be protected online. Unfortunately, as the recent hacks of entities such as Twitch have shown, data is not always easy to protect. Building awareness through education of how data is transmitted is the first step. Building a greater level of ability over defending it, for instance through the use of password lockers and similar defensive measures, will help the next generation of web users to make sure that they do not fall victim to common scams and attacks.
All of the principles of online security feed into a need to prevent cyber attacks. There is a lot of work being done to try and prevent attacks, including the Veasey bipartisan bill that is aiming to push through large-scale cyber literacy in the USA. The reasoning behind this is clear. A basic understanding of what cyber attacks look like, how to use digital tools and resources to stay safe, and how to report and manage attacks all contribute to having a full skillset that’ll help in staying safe online and preventing any sort of long-term damage.
Cyber literacy is a matter of security and national interest. The only way to really help the country as a whole to deflect attacks is to get every person in the country on board. Achieving that can be done through a concerted educational effort in all forms of data security and protection.