Telling a story

The #CyberFest webinar with the North East Fraud Forum was another great event. All the speakers were enthralling, the technology worked well and I could probably fill several blogs with things I want to say. I’m going to start though with the presentation from Annabel Berry, CEO of Sapphire that came towards the end.

We talked about the human side of cybersecurity, it really is a people problem rather than a technical one, and we agreed that we need to find better stories to tell that engage those people who need to take cybersecurity seriously. Those of us in the industry, certainly those at the event, are passionate about what we do and we need to find a way for this to rub off on our intended audience.

There is nothing more human than a story and in a strange coincidence I am reading ‘The Peripherals’ by Wiliam Gibson, the author who coined the phrase ‘cyber’. I think it was in his book ‘Neuromancer’ and if so, he has a lot to answer for.  His books are interlaced with the murky yet exciting interface between the physical and the online worlds. I was going to say the real and online worlds yet it is becoming increasingly difficult to tell them apart. 

My conversation with Annabel also reminded me of the books of Kate Baucherel, who spoke at last year’s #CyberFest at Teesside University on the role of fiction in cybersecurity. The adventures of her protagonist, SimCavalier are told in her books ‘Bitcoin Hurricane’ and ‘Hacked Future’. They are a great read and I understand she is working on a third in the series.

The point is that there are people who can tell great stories that excite people about cybersecurity, we need to use their tales and techniques to get the word out to a wider audience. Only by people communicating with people can we hope to get the message out there yet it will be long and repetitive work.

To finish off this blog I will leave you with a couple of William Gibson quotes

‘The future is already here – it’s just not evenly distributed.’

‘When you want to know how things really work, study them when they’re coming apart.’

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