Google and the US government may be at odds about many things, but the two are in agreement on one big one: who should be responsible for cyberattacks.
In a blog post by Kent Walker, President, Global Affairs & Chief Legal Officer, and Royal Hansen, VP of Engineering for Privacy, Safety, and Security, the executives make the case that companies should be responsible for improving cybersecurity:
“Should companies be responsible for cyberattacks? The U.S. government thinks so – and frankly, we agree.”
The two execs then quote Jen Easterly and Eric Goldstein of the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency at the Department of Homeland Security:
“The incentives for developing and selling technology have eclipsed customer safety in importance. […] Americans…have unwittingly come to accept that it is normal for new software and devices to be indefensible by design. They accept products that are released to market with dozens, hundreds, or even thousands of defects. They accept that the cybersecurity burden falls disproportionately on consumers and small organizations, which are often least aware of the threat and least capable of protecting themselves.”
Walker and Hansen go on to lament that cyber threats are growing, taking advantage of “insecure software, indefensible architectures, and inadequate security investment.” The solution is a complete rethinking of how software is designed and deployed.
“The bottom line: People deserve products that are secure by default and systems that are built to withstand the growing onslaught from attackers,” the executives write. “Safety should be fundamental: built-in, enabled out of the box, and not added on as an afterthought. In other words, we need secure products, not security products. That’s why Google has worked to build security in – often making it invisible – to our users. Many of our most significant security features, including innovations like SafeBrowsing, do their best work behind the scenes for our core consumer products.”
The executives emphasize the importance of security being smooth and streamlined, not the cumbersome experience that often exists today, and that results in customers choosing insecurity over inconvenience. Walker and Hansen also recognize there is no silver bullet but that significant steps can and should be taken to greatly improve the status quo.
“Of course, raising the security baseline won’t stop all bad actors, and software will likely always have flaws – but we can start by covering the basics, fixing the most egregious security risks, and coming up with new approaches that eliminate entire classes of threats,” they add. “Google has made investments in the past two decades, but contributing resources is just a piece of the puzzle. It’s work for all of us, but it’s the responsible thing to do: The safety and security of our increasingly digitized world depends on it.”