Rutgers professor says cybersecurity is less important than it should be


cybersecuritymatt
Photo by Matt Cerisano |

Photo Illustration | Many students publish private information on their social media profiles, making it easy for users to find personal information with a simple Google search.


Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton has been dogged by questions about the security of her private email server, with FBI Director James Comey announcing last Friday that potentially relevant emails were found on former Congressman Anthony Weiner's (D-N.Y.) laptop.

Cybersecurity as an issue definitely plays into the decisions of undecided voters, said Ken Geiger, a School of Arts and Sciences sophomore, who is undecided himself.  

Anytime WikiLeaks shares private digital information, it will pull people one way or another, he said.

“I feel like it’s not totally surprising given our nation’s past with corruption, with presidential candidates and presidents themselves tampering around with certain operations in our government," he said. "I think that it plays a very big role in deciding who we are, and this is a very close election certainly."

Cybersecurity has only become a pertinent issue to the extent that it has exposed what individuals were hoping to keep private, said Jo-Leo Carney Waterton, a part-time lecturer in the Department of Political Science. 

“I don’t believe it is much of a concern for students, and I say that mainly because of how much the student population in general nationwide tends to treat private information," he said. "A quick perusal of any one student from any one professor’s classroom reveals that they are highly visible on social media, and have a tendency to overshare." 

Waterton said students are not as concerned about cybersecurity as they should be. Many voluntarily reveal private information through their social media accounts, where they can be found through a simple Google search.

Cybersecurity plays large role in the elections, said Kimberly Constantino, a School of Arts and Sciences sophomore. People who are not on social media platforms are definitely using cybersecurity as a reason not to be on it.

"I have all my stuff on private but I still feel like someone could hack in and find all my stuff, so I think it’s really important," she said. 

The issue may also be important to certain demographics of people, including minorities, Waterton said. 

“I know I’ve seen the effect of lack of cybersecurity for individuals within middle eastern cultures, asian cultures in general," he said. "Mainly because in countries where freedom of speech is so suppressed and individuals are so oppressed the sharing of that information becomes key, and then you have to talk about certain minority populations for whom secrecy is a part of of the culture like the LGBTQ community in general."  

There are conversations that young men and women within that community are having that need to be secret, Waterton said, because they are not yet ready to be open and honest with people about their sexuality.

“So cybersecurity for them is a grand concern because it threatens to expose them in a way they may not want to,” he said.


Sanjana Chandrasekharan is a School of Arts and Sciences sophomore majoring in political science. She is a staff writer for The Daily Targum.


Sanjana Chandrasekharan

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