Listening to the (Yahoo) Paranoids is Good
Apparently the Security guys at Yahoo were branded collectively as ‘The Paranoids’ as they often clashed with other departments because of security costs and their demands of added protection, which were deemed inconvenient.
Melissa Mayer inherited a security problem when she took on the Captain’s role at Yahoo. In January 2010, Yahoo, Google, Adobe and at least 20 other larger companies were targeted in cyber attacks reported to have come from China. This ultimately led to Google pulling out of China and increasing its security. However Yahoo’s response was seemingly not as informative nor decisive. The company said: “Yahoo does not generally disclose that type of information, but we take security very seriously and we take appropriate action in the event of any kind of breach.”
Two years later, when Melissa Mayer took on the role at Yahoo in July, she was heralded as the new most powerful woman in the tech industry, however chose to not pay as much attention to security resulting in continuing security breaches prior to the 2014 attack that resulted in 500 Million compromised accounts.
Pessimists make better Pilots
According to research by the American Psychological Association “Pessimism about the future may encourage people to live more carefully, taking health and safety precautions.” The study, carried out on 40,000 people, found that being ‘overly optimistic’ in predicting a better future was associated with a greater risk of disability and death. Think about it for a second, would you prefer the pilot of the plane you’re travelling on to be optimistic about the amount of fuel left in the tank? Or say your taxi driver chose to not pay so much attention on the road? A pessimistic taxi driver would probably worry about you getting you safely to your destination on time.
Security people are often called paranoid, but definitely knowing that there are attacks out there that we don’t know about yet isn’t a weakness it’s a strength in the cyber era. It’s a matter of When we get hacked and not If we get hacked that is the common truth of our times.
If more business leaders and captains of industry were more pessimistic, and a touch more paranoid, then perhaps we wouldn’t be talking about how Half a Billion accounts with data containing personally identifiable information were compromised in 2014 yet only discovered in 2016.
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