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cybersecurity jeopardy confused

If anyone out there is like me, you have enjoyed James Holzhauer, Ken Jennings and (a little of) Brad Rutter go toe to toe in the, “The Greatest of All Time” Jeopardy showdown over the last three nights.

These guys are nothing short of amazing. They recall information instantly regarding a wide range of topics from literature, history, music, pop culture, art, science, technology, etc. and in many cases without the slightest hesitation.

The first game on the first night featured every question in the game being answered and no wrong answers uttered… any true Jeopardy fan knows this is INSANELY rare. In short, these guys are brilliant.

But despite the genius on display, there was one category that seemed to stump the three contestants: Cybersecurity.

Of the five answers in the “Cybersecurity” category from last night, only three were questioned correctly by the panel of contestants. Remember, this is Jeopardy where contestants are given the answer and need to ask the question to be awarded the points. Let’s recap the answers and correct questions here:

  • 200 Points = This type of hacker referred to by a colorful bit of headwear helpfully tests computer systems for vulnerability. What is, White Hat
  • 400 Points = A website with a site certificate is one that uses encryption; this letter after http is one sign of it. What is, S
  • 600 Points = Companies consider cybersecurity when instructing employees with a policy on BYOD, short for this. What is, Bring Your Own Device
  • 800 Points = A ransomware attack that encrypted 3,800 city of Atlanta computers demanded 6 of these digital items to unfreeze them. What is, Bitcoins
  • 1000 Points = Beware of these types of programs that track every stroke you make while typing in an effort to glean your password. What is, Keylogging

The contestants completely missed the 600 points “What is, Bring Your Own Device” and the 1000 points, “What is, Keylogging” questions. They didn’t get them wrong, they just didn’t get them at all!

Can I be honest… when I screamed out “Keylogging” at my TV and watched as three far superior minds to my own stared in utter bafflement, my head went so far up into the clouds I gave Jack’s giant a high five.

The key takeaway here is not how good I felt about my right answer but the fact that simple cybersecurity terms and questions were unanswerable to literal geniuses. If you are in the Cybersecurity field you probably knew most, if not all of the correct responses. But simple terms in Cybersecurity are not so simple to those outside the industry and that is where so much confusion and (frankly) frustration comes from.

Anything that is not well understood is usually feared, and that is fully on display with businesses trying to address Cybersecurity. The fact that your business struggles to manage cybersecurity risk, because it’s not well understood by your non-cybersecurity folks (and therefore it’s a scary topic), makes perfect sense.

If you are one of those people who think Cybersecurity is a bottomless pit of doom and confusion, take some solace in knowing you are not alone. In fact, start by giving yourself and those around a you a pass. Three incredible minds that have been trained to recall information in an instant couldn’t find simple cybersecurity terms in their mental database… how much can you really expect from yourself?

Now that you have a pass for your current knowledge level, its time to up your game. Cybersecurity threats are not going away, and neither is the risk to your business.

Let’s not get too preachy here and remember we still have at least one more night of intense Jeopardy competition. As for me, I’m rooting for a Brad Rutter comeback. Hopefully Ken Jennings has an off night this Tuesday.

Enjoy, and stay safe out there!

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