Designated Survivor and Cyber Security

Designated Survivor ABC Keifer Sutherland

For those of us that miss Keifer Sutherland taking on the world’s worst bad guys in “24”, tonight he returns in the new ABC series, “Designated Survivor”.

Keifer plays the secretary of Housing and Urban Development, who suddenly becomes president of the United States when the Capitol is destroyed during a State of the Union speech.

The show’s pilot is getting incredible reviews, and Sutherland plays, in a way, the anti-Jack Bauer.  While Jack was a tough guy from the show’s get-go, this character is a low-key family man.  He finds himself in a position he has no expectation for.  Perhaps the most intense, disturbing part of all of this is, could it happen?

While extremely unlikely, the “designated survivor” is a real thing.  It began in the United States government during the Cold War, when nuclear fears were high.  Designated survivors have included Secretaries of Commerce, Agriculture, Veterans Affairs, the Interior, and yes – Housing and Urban Development.  Andrew Cuomo served as Designated Survivor in 1999 and Shaun Donavan in 2010, both of which held this title.  So yes, the TV version isn’t total fiction.

Andrew Cuomo

New York Governor and former Secretary of HUD Andrew Cuomo

National Cybersecurity Awareness Month is  October.  This threat to our national security didn’t exist during the Cold War but is a real issue.  The Cybersecurity National Action Plan proposes billions of dollars to make us safer.  That’s also why, in Oct., 2014’s Cisco Security Capabilities Benchmark Study, Cisco identified 1 million unfilled cyber security jobs filled worldwide.  This skills shortage is a talent gap and we must find more talent for computer careers.

According to the Harvard Business Review, the biggest cyber security threats are inside your company.  In the 2016 Cyber Security Intelligence Index, IBM discovered 60 percent of attacks were inside jobs.  Cyber security positions have to be filled at the company and government level, as just about every industry is affected.  This includes banking, health care, and manufacturing.  Of course our critical national security infrastructure such as nuclear power plants must be kept safe.

We’ll watch “Designated Survivor” as an escape from reality, with the realization that so much needs to be done to keep it that way.

Carolina Career College offers cyber security classes through its Security and Network Infrastructure program.

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