We all travel digitally. Almost everyone owns one or even more computers connected to the Internet, whether they are integrated on the desk, in a mobile phone, in the clock, in the car or even in the toothbrush. A lot of the digital information about us is given out voluntarily: we upload private photos to Instagram and Facebook and share them with family, friends or even the whole world. Other data we want to keep private; for example, when we write e-mails or use e-banking. But how do we know that this data is safe? That no one accesses it, analyzes it and passes it on or even uses it against us?
Recently, criminal hackers attacked a transport company in Switzerland and blocked all systems. They demanded a large sum of money as ransom. The digital world is obviously an exciting, but also an uncertain world.
What can be done? Doing without digital means of communication and services is not a future-oriented solution. So, all you can do is to take appropriate security measures. Every country, every company, every person must learn to protect themselves against attacks in cyberspace - just as we learned many thousand years ago to defend ourselves against violence and theft in the real world.
In the real world, not all countries are equally secure. A high level of security, as we have in Switzerland, for example, is not only attractive for citizens, it is also a clear locational advantage in global competition.
What is the situation in the digital world? I am convinced, there will be competition too. And how can Switzerland win this competition? At least three elements will contribute to a high level of security: hardware, software and "humanware", in other words: people.
Humanware? Yes, absolutely, because security is not just a technological issue. The weakest link in the security chain is often neither the hardware nor the software, but human beings, who do not recognize the danger and therefore offer the (cyber)enemy a gateway because of their behavior. Troy sends its regards ...
Just as we have always prepared our children for the dangers of the real world, we must all learn to move carefully in the virtual world. Schools have recognised the challenge, curricula are being adapted. University level is moving too. ETH Zurich and EPFL, for example, are now offering a Master's degree course in cybersecurity.
But what about us, those who have long since been "expelled" from school? This is where we need to continue our education! Switzerland must get in shape for the digital transformation. Keyword: lifelong learning.
Fortunately, there are more and more offers. The Extension School of EPFL, the association digitalswitzerland and various professional associations present a whole smorgasbord of attractive courses and programmes on their websites. Now it's time to grab them – enjoy your meal!
The article originally appeared in SonntagsBlick.