#infosec | #ISC2Congress: Technology Is Endangering Independent Decision-making


While the focus of the (ISC)² Security Congress happening in Florida this week is cybersecurity, one of the conference’s key players has voiced concerns over what effect technology is having on human health and happiness.

In an interview with Infosecurity Magazine, (ISC)² COO Wesley Simpson shared his fears surrounding the negative impact of intertwining our lives so completely with technology.

“We are becoming more and more dependent on technology for everything, even for the simplest things like answering questions in conversations. I hate to say this, but I feel we are scared to make decisions on our own now without going through some type of app to find out what we should or should not do,” said Simpson.

In addition to damaging our capacity to think for ourselves, Simpson said technology was also hindering people’s ability to forge social bonds in their personal and professional lives. 

“When I look at the younger generations especially, I am scared by how dependent on social media they are with having discussions or conversations instead of having them face-to-face with their colleagues or peers, even with a co-worker. 

“It’s all done through an app, which removes that human element that enables bonding and culture-building. That’s all been replaced by convenience and simplicity.”

Simpson’s son is now in his mid-twenties, but the father of one is still a firm believer in monitoring and restricting children’s screen time and internet use.

He said: “I am in favor of screen-time restrictions, especially where kids are involved. There are some interesting stats about how much screen time our children are getting today and on how parents don’t truly understand how much screen time their children get or what they are doing online. 

“They are not just talking to people; they are physically meeting them and being exposed to online predators and cyber-bullying. That seems to be getting bigger with social media, and that ugliness on social media is causing a lot of mental stress and depression.”

When it comes to his own cybersecurity, Simpson admits he make mistakes daily, including one particularly big no-no. 

“There are too many damn passwords. I have them written down because I can’t remember them all. I get locked out daily, and then I have to go to my cheat sheet and look them up,” said Simpson. 

“Because now you need a password for everything, it’s making us more insecure. Humans can’t remember complex passwords, so they are constantly resetting their passwords and exposing more of their data each time they do that.”

Simpson said he was counting on biometric multi-factor identification to save him from the curse of having to remember an ever-increasing number of passwords. 

“Until we are able to move toward a truly seamless login experience through biometrics, the password is going to continue to plague us,” said Simpson.

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