Can someone be too connected?

By Ozzie Diaz
There are those that would argue U.S. House Representative Pete Hoekstra is too connected. According to a recent article in a top security trade publication, Rep. Hoekstra sent tweets during his recent trip to Iraq. Some of the tweets included: “Just landed in Baghdad. I believe it may be first time I’ve had bb service in Iraq. 11th trip here.” and “Moved into green zone by helicopter Iraqi flag now over palace. Headed to new US embassy Appears calmer less chaotic than previous here.”

There are those that would argue U.S. House Representative Pete Hoekstra is too connected. According to a recent article in a top security trade publication, Rep. Hoekstra sent tweets during his recent trip to Iraq. Some of the tweets included: “Just landed in Baghdad. I believe it may be first time I’ve had bb service in Iraq. 11th trip here.” and “Moved into green zone by helicopter Iraqi flag now over palace. Headed to new US embassy Appears calmer less chaotic than previous here.”

I’m a huge fan of the Always Connected User Experience. I’m also a huge fan of social networking and it’s inevitable that we are all living more connected lives than ever before. In fact, my children struggle to remember when they were not connected early in the childhood years. My grandson will never know a time when he, his family, friends, and all those around him were connected especially over ever-present mobile technologies. This also creates what is undoubtedly the biggest threat potential to our security, identities, and privacy.

One of the many great things about President Obama’s administration and his philosophy is that of the first Connected White House. The U.S. government and its many agencies will for the first time collide with the connected lifestyle enabled by social networks and mobile technologies. It will also need to figure out fast how to balance a growing population of its connected members and the need for secrecy and national security, as well as the security of others we are protecting around the world.

Will this drive the need for capabilities in monitoring, detection, policy enforcements, and possibly surveillance of these always-connected mobile devices? Gartner, IDC, and In-Stat all have varying forecasts, but generally speaking, just in the 2009 year, there will be more than 1.5 billion new phones and PCs sold into the market. On the phone side, nearly a quarter of roughly 1.4 billion phones will be smart phones such as iPhones, Blackberry’s, Nokia Symbian devices, etc.

On the PC side, most of the roughly 120 Million PCs will be laptops and 100 percent of them will be wireless equipped. Every one of these devices is a threat for malware intrusion and/or information extrusion. The cell phones are always connected storage, photography, recording, and yes, telephony devices.

As was the case with Barack Obama’s “Blackberry”, new and innovative measures will need to be taken in areas where government, defense, and intelligence security are mandated. The optimal solution does not exist today, so the private sector and high tech industries must work hard and fast to solve the vulnerabilities that exist and are growing, but may not be fully apparent to the evil-doers with malicious intentions.

* Ozzie Diaz is chief executive officer of AirPatrol Corporation.

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