The first 300 words of the Declaration of Independence are without doubt my favorite words ever said on any July 4th. Those first words provided the bedrock, the justification, to do what is needed to be done, in order to give this great nation the foundation to flourish. And as I like to say, there is so much “genius” packed into those few words.
One “genius” element of these first few words is their simplicity. In fact, it is their simplicity – use of words and terms easy to understand, by all peoples – that makes them so powerful, elegant and earth changing. There is a type of paradox almost, where in order to understand what followed July 4th, 1776 you need to understand these first few words; concurrently, to understand how we got to where we are.
Put another way, those first words of the Declaration are “the basics” to understanding everything. Understand that and you understand everything else. The lasting power of the phrase “we hold these truths to be self evident” is itself self-evident.
When writing this piece I was looking for a way to bridge the current cybersecurity issues we face on a daily basis against the backdrop of the nation’s birth and I saw no better way than making that connection.
There are scholars and historians who will do a much better job than I ever could in decoding the decision making of The Founding Fathers, but something I feel we can all agree with is this: The Founding Fathers had enough. They said “this isn’t working for us” and took ownership of their destiny.
The Founding Fathers realized that when individuals were given the freedom and liberty to conduct their own affairs, they could unlock powers otherwise not available to them. And of course, along with that freedom and liberty comes individual responsibility.
That is the bridge I want to make with current cybersecurity challenges: each and every single one of us has a role to play if we’re going to tackle this cybersecurity beast. We simply cannot have the expectation that somebody else is going to take care of our cybersecurity problems. In last month’s piece, I illustrated that importance, along with previous pieces (here and here) focusing on the things we as individuals can to do up our cybersecurity game. And of course, my “go to” move always: never forget the basics.
If we are going to provide new guards for our future (cyber) security, it is our duty to stop the long train of abuses we have been facing. That means if we’re still leaving internet traffic unencrypted, if we’re not protecting our crown jewels, and are still allowing ourselves to be suckered into clicking malicious links, we can – and should – hold ourselves responsible for our cybersecurity follies.
I know you all have the power to prevent future cybersecurity attacks against your interests. I mean that sincerely. The keys are individual responsibility and doing the basics. I have no scientific proof, but here is my SWAG: take control of your cyber responsibilities and do the basics and I’m confident you’ll reduce your cyber risk profile by 80% at least. That’s some pretty solid work at your fingertips that provides safety and happiness. And it’s an easy way to stop suffering the cyber evils.
A Happy Fourth to you and yours as we celebrate freedom and liberty! And with that, I leave you with my favorite words ever said on this day.
In Congress, July 4, 1776:
The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America, When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.–That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed,–That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to affect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shown, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.
By George Platsis, SDI Cyber Risk Practice, July 3, 2018