OK boomer, time to fix the internet once and for all

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The annual arrival of Computer Security Day, otherwise known as Saturday, November 30th, is upon us once again. As welcome as this and all the other days devoted to raising awareness of cybersecurity, the fact of the matter most people are well aware of the risks they face.

A global index of consumer concerns created by Unisys finds nearly two-thirds (63%) of global consumers report they are seriously concerned about the threat of viruses/hacking and well more than half (57%) seriously concerned about the risks of being hacked or having their security compromised while online.

Within the U.S., almost two-thirds (63%) of Americans are seriously concerned that their identity could be stolen and/or misused.

Study: 57% of global consumers are srsly concerned about the risks of having their security compromised while online. 63% of US consumers srsly concerned about #identitytheft ~@MVizard Click To Tweet

The issue the average person is grappling with is a general feeling of being powerless to protect themselves online. Not surprisingly, 70% of Americans concurred that given the growing amount of data, apps, and devices, it’s high time to create a new, more secure and controlled Internet. A full third of respondents said they strongly support this idea.

Of course, very few of the survey respondents have any idea how that might be accomplished, much less be accomplished. However, with a national election on the horizon may the time has come to consider the next great “moonshot.” Losses caused by cybersecurity breaches are already being measured in the trillions. The core cybersecurity issue with the Internet is the underlying protocols assumed all the systems connected could be trusted. Even Tim Berners-Lee, one of the technology figures that helped build the foundation for the Internet and co-founder of the Worldwide Web Foundation, says it’s time for a change.

Study: 70% of Americans concurred that given the growing amount of data, apps, and devices, it’s time to create a new, more secure and controlled Internet. ~@MVizard #InfoSec Click To Tweet

Berners-Lee this week reiterated his call for a Contract for the Web, which is based on nine core principles for securing the Internet that address everything from hate speech, data privacy, political manipulation to the centralization of online power among a small number of companies.  More than 160 companies are now backing that proposal, including Facebook, Microsoft, and Google.

Many seasoned and perhaps jaundiced cybersecurity professionals might scoff at such idealistic notions. The Internet as we know it today in their eyes is broken beyond all repair. The truth is many governments around the world like it that way. However, hope springs eternal. The same idealism that inspires the younger members of our society to rally for a way to address climate change can also be marshaled to drive a reinvention of the Internet. Rather than accepting the status quo, many of the younger members of society are now greeting recalcitrance against change with a derisive “OK Boomer” response.

It’s too early to say whether anything will come of this. However, don’t be surprised to see one or more presidential candidates seizing on cybersecurity as a campaign issue. The more exposed people become to and on the Internet, the more aware they become that something is fundamentally amiss. Committing to fund a multiyear effort to “take back the Internet” by 2025 is just the kind of thing that might get people who are otherwise disinclined to participate in an election to finally pay a visit to their local voting booth.


  1. Joanne MurtDecember 4, 2019

    Every time I put my email in my account some else is using my internet and I should have full control over my house with my personal internet and I do not get my e-mails but I pay the bills and every time I go to get on my emails it’s always making me change my passwords why and can someone just change my personal things and pretend there me and it’s not I have is someone ordering things on different accounts and iam always locked out why I just changed my secrecy question and now it’s different this is crazy how and why and now my phones in my home so not work and it’s for my 84 year old brother that lives with me and iam paying way to much money for nothing to work right it’s very frustrating and not right that other people can control my internet my tv’s and phones please hopefully someone can help me with the situation hats been going on for way to long thank you I would appreciate any help or fix my problems thanks. Joanne

  2. Christine BarryDecember 6, 2019

    Hi Joanne, that sounds frustrating. Have you called your Internet provider to see if they have anything to help you with your security? They may be able to tell you if there’s a problem in your home network that is causing the problems you describe.

    Here are some resources that can help you get this resolved –




    If you need additional help, you might consider hiring a local computer consultant to do a security review of your home network. I suspect this would involve someone coming to your home and checking your modem and computers for the latest updates, plus running a virus/malware check on your devices, and ensuring that you have good passwords and overall security. Be sure to explain what accounts you are having trouble with so they can look into that for you too.

    If you go this route, be sure to get someone who has a good reputation, so check with the local Chamber of Commerce or get a recommendation or something like that. To be extra safe at this point, do not pay for tech support or buy any software over the phone or the Internet. Ask the tech who works with you to explain what he or she is doing and to write it down for you so that you have a record of it. The good ones will want to do this for you anyway.

    I hope that helps!


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