Theresa Payton, a former White House chief information officer and a cyber security expert, talked about the conflict between the opportunities and the threats during a workshop Thursday.
Technology connects us, helps drive up efficiencies and spurs innovation, Payton said.
“Through our devices and other technologies, we’re able to collect, communicate, analyze and act on data, creating new value and improving customer experiences,” she said.
As a society, and as individuals, we want that, Payton said.
But, as technology advances, she said, that information gets exposed, and data breaches occur — with the most recent being at Equifax, where a breach put 146 million Americans at risk of identity theft.
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Because of the data breaches at Equifax, Yahoo, Target, LinkedIn and other companies, “our focus has been on protecting servers, data, the cloud or an internet of things device,” Payton said. “But the game has changed while we were busy securing components.”
One threat that’s gone largely uncontrolled is the threat of manipulation of “social sentiment,” Payton said.
Payton said social sentiment played a part in the 2016 presidential election, with Russian spies spreading false information on Facebook and other social media platforms.