#Digitaldiplomacy and #Cybersecurity on a Rough Patch in 2017.
The last several years have seen an explosion of digital diplomacy tools and techniques. This is driven by an ongoing growth in technology platforms; and social media combined with the increased numbers of world Governments adopting open data and open government principles. There has also been a parallel explosion in fake social media, fake news and fake information being propagated globally.
The effect of the combined forces is that cybersecurity is now playing an even more vital role in digital diplomacy. Where digital diplomacy just a few years back was between recognized principals of Governments, now there are lots of other players trying to make that communication much more failure prone.
Additionally we now have leaders using Twitter and other tools to communicate directly with each other and or to directly go around the news media. Just in the first few months of 2017 alone, we have witnessed multiple world leaders using Twitter to speak in ways that are different from the stated policies of their countries, or to put pressure on other countries through this most public of mediums.
There have been recent successes and failures. I wrote about some of these a few years back. We have also seen a tremendous growth in what I call “anti digital diplomacy” thru the concerted use of fake social media accounts, fake news websites, and fake statistics designed to make the role of real diplomats much harder. While some of this is innocuous, much of it is organized and part of larger cyber deception plots being run by larger nation states.
Western European countries are currently experiencing the same types of digital attacks on their electoral systems, including the use of selective leaking of compromised materials that the US experienced in 2016. Which means that hacking, and hackers have been deeply involved too. One does not get compromised materials without someone first doing the exfiltration of the information from its original home.
Which brings the question of what role cybersecurity needs to play in digital diplomacy? It is a dynamic situation now with asymmetrical threats and increased attack surface area affecting the very direct communications that digital diplomacy allows.
Governments, Diplomats and the media alike need to be trained and continually updated on how to spot fake accounts, fake news, fake websites, and how to ensure only officially verified information is being transmitted through the digital diplomacy channels. Additionally steps need to be taken on dealing with constituents and the news media to ensure that fake information is put down quickly with the truth and facts to back it up.
Diplomats across the globe have already been caught up in re-tweeting fake news or getting trolled by fake accounts. But there needs to be a verification role too, that is played with the public, especially in terms of proving the falsity of fake information being purposely distributed.
Further, steps need to be taken to lock down accounts with two factor authentication, very strong passwords and strict internal organizational controls on who uses the digital diplomacy tools and how. Cybersecurity needs to be incorporated into every decision and every level of communications, both internally and externally.
Finally, Governments and Companies around the world need to adopt a rapid response routine to deal with both fake news and fake information coming from non-official sources, as well as from official sources or official twitter accounts. The World now has several leaders who seem to want to try to use Twitter to go around their local politics and news media and or tell the world an un-true or incoherent story. If Diplomats are not ready to respond to falsities or cyber-attack driven leaks quickly, then they will be playing a constant game of catch up. True for the news media and global citizens alike.
A few weeks ago I wrote this piece about #IOT Cybersecurity and how it affects personal and brand reputations. I got a lot of criticism for basically speaking the truth. I appreciate all the tweets, emails and Linkedin posts engaging on this piece, including all the people who attempted to say I was wrong.
But the points raised in that piece are simply the opening salvo in a multi front disruption. The disruption is NOT IoT. The disruption is to switch from product leading first with security as an afterthought in the rush to go to market. What needs to change is the mindset to build in design security from the beginning,
Last week I sat on a panel at the California Cyber Security Task Force meeting. The panelists were all cybersecurity experts, from across the field, including homeland security, penetration testers, strategy and policy. When it came time to talk about #IOT Internet of Things, we were all asked what people thought about the current state of cybersecurity in IoT.
The answer from the entire panel was: THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS CYBERSECURITY AS OF YET IN THE INTERNET OF THINGS.
Think about that for a second. Or maybe longer. Sure there are a few Iot devices that do offer some level of security. But often, as was raised by one of the other panelists, that is simply writing a marketing statement to the effect of “We take your security very seriously.”
But most IoT devices do not provide any real security, and many are simply copies off other IoT devices that also have no security. Then you have to add in the problem of the unsecured devices talking and sending your data to other non secure devices and or third party companies.
The disruption has to be the switch from rush to market with little to no thought about security — to one where security is built in from the design level up and where devices are not put on the market without first being hack tested every which way to be able to prove their security credentials. Otherwise, we are all simply at very real risk. In part because of the inattention or even stupidity of others who do not think this is important; or in the rush to market skip cybersecurity completely — or just write a lame #fail marketing statement about how they value your security.
Alan W. Silberberg, CEO of DIGIJAKS
We all want it, work for it and strive for it throughout lives and careers.
We all have one. It us up to us to define it, scale it and defend it.
Which one is more valuable? Which one brings more of the other?
This is a two sided question. To some people, money is everything. To others, their reputation is everything, with money or without. While most people might reflexively think that money is more important, others will emphatically state that reputation management is paramount.
Some recent studies weigh in on the side of reputation. Reputation expert Michael Fertik recently weighed in on the issue in the UK’s Guardian Paper.
Digijaks CEO Alan W. Silberberg feels that money and reputation are completely intertwined; and that this effectively goes along with the associated correlation between social media and reputation management.
Money and Reputation are intertwined in ways most of us can barely recognize yet. Pretty soon, if not already, major banks are/will be assessing their clients not just based on assets under control, but on social indicators, and online reputation.
How many times have people searched you during or before routine financial meetings? Have you thought about this yet? 2015 definitely marks the year in which most of us need to start recognizing the distinct correlation between money and reputation — whether online or offline.
When it comes to reputation management and control, there are many techniques that can be employed, depending on the person, the brand, or the situation.
What works in a digital crisis environment does not always translate to a long term digital branded environment. The same is true in reverse.
An older article from 2013 examined this correlation and there has been a ton of blog posts and other material written about it, but still very few understand or practice this type of specific tactical methodology to achieve their long term strategic goals for search and or social media. Here is an example from my own search results.
Note in order: 1. Twitter 2. Linkedin 3. Huffington Post (As I am a blogger and have a byline) So what does this say about the correlation between social media, search and reputation management and control? It very clearly shows the relationship, and the importance of using your social media accounts strategically and tactically with regard to keyword use, placement, and brand labeling. It also shows that even with a fully optimized website like Digijaks and being an active blogger; the social media platforms take up the top chunks of search real estate. This is with taking a strategic approach. Especially with the constant changes in search engine algorithms. But what happens when you do the opposite? When you do not think about this correlation and how it affects your personal, corporate or government brand on a daily basis, you open yourself and brand to reputation crisis, to reputation smears or outright destruction.
Social Media is the first and most basic step one must take to protect one’s brand and reputation. It needs to be used carefully, proactively and with keywords, brand image and search results always in mind.
Individuals, Companies, Governments and Brands need to pay careful attention to the correlation between search, social media and reputation control and management. If it is left to the Internet, you will not be happy with the results. Take control of your reputation. Take control of your brand reputation management, and start with social media. There are many other steps. But start there. Digijaks offers boutique solutions for high impact individuals, brands and organizations to deal with the combination of cyber security, social media and reputation management and control. We see and hear all kinds of stories. Alan W. Silberberg, CEO of Digijaks