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#RSAC: McAfee CEO: Cybersec Can Learn from Air Travel Security

Christopher D. Young, chief executive officer at McAfee, took to the stage in the opening keynote session of RSA 2018 in San Francisco on April 17, outlining how the cybersecurity industry can learn from the threat of air travel hijacking and the developments made in air traffic security as a result.

Young said that as the threat of real-life skyjacking evolved over time, so did the balancing act of air traffic security to keep people safe without dramatically impacting their travelling experience.

“Airlines really do a remarkable job of this,” he added. “If you look at the air travel industry, they are absolutely obsessive about safety and security – from the pilot to the first officer, to the flight attendants to everyone who works in the air travel ecosystem, security is job number one.”

Whilst airline security can never be 100% perfect, Young said great strides have been taken to ensure that even the most minute possible threats and capabilities that could disrupt air travel are captured.

However, “cybersecurity has not yet reached the level of priority that it needs to be at in order for us to truly be able to manage the attack landscape we face,” he argued. 

That’s because many people still don’t believe cybersecurity is their job or their responsibility, and part of it is because organizations often fail to take up and be a part of cultural changes to drive progress. “We can make cultural change possible but the industry needs to change first.”

Yong said that it’s therefore time to learn from the past in order to go farther and faster in protecting the digital world.

After all, the security response after the 9/11 terrorist attack was not built around new tech or ground-breaking ideas, it was just a change in culture.

“We can’t wait for a digital 9/11 to force us to change [in cybersecurity],” he concluded.

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