Rimage CEO’s new cybersecurity book draws parallels between cyber and biological pandemics
In his recently released book, World War D: The Intersection of Cyber and Biological Pandemic, Rimage CEO Chris Rence makes the connection between the Covid-19 and cyber attack pandemics that are roiling our world with no end in sight. Rence sat down for a Q&A where he discusses why he wrote his book and what he wants readers to get from it.
Q: What was the impetus for writing this book?
CR: We talk about the Covid pandemic and the things that you need to do to keep yourself safe. It doesn’t matter if you believe in it or not, but when you go to the bathroom, you wash your hands because if you don’t wash your hands, you get sick. It’s just common sense. So I was trying to help people see that if they don’t secure their technology and keep it clean, it’s going to get infected by malware. In both instances, you have to use good hygiene practices to protect yourself.
Q: Can you dive deeper into the correlation between the cyber and biological pandemics?
CR: When I wrote this a lot of people were working from home because of the biological pandemic. When you’re in the office, you have some social interaction, and you might talk to someone and say, “Hey, I got this phishing email or somebody called my house or I got this weird thing on my cell phone that is now broken down.” With everybody at home, you have to defend yourself. And with Covid, it was the same thing. You had to learn to protect yourself. The first thing you learned is that you have to wear a mask. So in the same vein, with the cyber pandemic, you learn that you’re not going to open a suspicious email. You’re not going to kiss a stranger during the pandemic—or hopefully anytime. Why would you open an unfamiliar email?
Q: Is cyber security something only organizations need to worry about, or should everyone be paying attention?
CR: I want people to think about their environment. Think about where they are. It doesn’t matter if you are dirt poor or really rich, cyber attacks and biological attacks don’t discriminate. Say you flip someone off at a red light. They see that you’re driving a nice car, they think you have money. They get your license plate. They follow you home. And then all of a sudden they could start to build your profile and take you down. They don’t physically have to get anywhere near you, but by the time they’re done, your credit’s destroyed. Someone in your family thinks you’re having an affair with someone else.
Q: What can people do about it?
CR: There aren’t enough tools in the world to help you counter all cyber attacks. People have to take responsibility and educate their kids that they shouldn’t be sharing too much information. I’d be happy if a couple of people read it and they change their password from four to five digits or they think about where their kids and their kids’ phones are, or they sit down and talk to their kids about why the world is like it is. This is a global problem and it’s going to keep getting more intense.
Q: What feedback are you getting about the book?
CR: The best part is that I’ve been putting the book in all those little book houses people have in my neighborhood. At one of the houses, the lady there looked me up and she drove to my house and up my driveway to bring the book back. And the reason is, she said, “I read it. And this is really, really scary.” And I said, “Thanks for bringing the book back, but why wouldn’t you want to think about protecting yourself?” And she said, ”I just don’t to believe the world’s like that.” And I totally agreed. But it’s one of those things that proves we don’t think about the threat of cyber security in a realistic way.