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Reflecting on Cybersecurity

  • Microsoft Security

As we finish up the first month of 2015, I’ve found myself reflecting not just on recent events, but on the past year and the past decade. Cybersecurity is not a new discipline by any means, but there always seems to be a new dimension that surfaces which forces our perspective to evolve as well.

On February 2, 2004, I started my first day at work in Trustworthy Computing. Scott Charney dropped off an article about the latest computer virus, and said, “Right — time to get started letting people know we’re working to make things better.” I’m proud of this statement: “The Business world owes a lot to Microsoft Trustworthy Computing,” in Forbes Magazine ten years later, as it puts a great cap on a decade of effort by a large number of people at Microsoft and throughout the technology industry.

There was a lot going on those days – take a look through life in the digital crosshairs, and there still is now – learn about digital detectives, those partnering with law enforcement towards making the internet a safer place. It’s rewarding to see how far we’ve come, and how Trustworthy Computing has positively advanced the state of security in a number of ways. Still, it isn’t realistic to think security and privacy problems will ever be fully solved.

In early December, Prime Minister Cameron held the first-ever global summit entitled “#WePROTECT Children Online,” designed to seek coordinated global action, explore technological solutions and create an international network to protect children from online sexual exploitation. My colleague Jacqueline Beauchere recorded her thoughts following the summit here. And recently, President Obama pushed for increased cybersecurity protections on a number of fronts.

Building trust is not only important for global technology companies, but vital for ensuring people everywhere can use technology with confidence. One important aspect of ensuring this trust, is for likeminded governments to agree on basic principles for sharing data across borders while respecting local privacy laws. You can read more about the international dialogue here, including comments from Microsoft. Microsoft cybersecurity leaders have further contributed to the global conversation through papers such as the recent, “Governments and APTs: The need for norms,” and “Cyberspace 2025.”

What started out as a mission to improve software security for Microsoft and stop Internet worms has become much more. Now we see a global, collaborative effort that meet today’s needs and prepare us as well as we can anticipate, for the future; both imagined and unforeseen.