Live Securely in 2023 (Part 1 of 4)

I started my career in IT decades ago and I was always interested in the security of systems. Recently, I came across an old study guide for an information security certification I achieved in 2012. The guide was from 1998, and it reminded me that I’ve been doing this for a long time (and that I’m old).


But not as old as the word “security” itself. I majored in Anthropology because I enjoyed the subject and found the study of other cultures (cultural anthropology) fascinating. As part of my liberal arts education, I took a course in linguistic anthropology, which is the study of the social context of language and how each shapes the other over time. For example, this infographic from Oliver Uberti (published in National Geographic Magazine, 12/2009) illustrates that the shorter a word is, the older the word is, generally speaking, and among other interesting insights.


If “I” and “two” originate from concepts dating back 10,000 years, how old is “security”? The word comes from the Latin roots of “se” (meaning “without”) and “cura” (meaning “care”) to create a word which literally meant “without care” or “feeling no apprehension.” Etymologists estimate this word was established and in use around the 1530s in European civilizations. Why did it take so long to develop this concept of living securely, without care?


Life was hard back then. For thousands of years, from nomadic hunter/gatherer societies right up the medieval period, folks generally did not feel secure, so there was no concept of being secure, and no need for the word to exist. Ancient people always had a need to move, to find shelter or water, or flee from famine, disease or war. They needed to form the concept of “without care” by acquiring the materials they needed to survive and the societies that allowed them to feel included and protected among the population, an effort that took centuries, and arrived fully in the Renaissance period of the 16th century.


Ask a bunch of hardcore InfoSec pros how to fully secure something and then sit back and watch the debate. The device must be unplugged, powered off, sealed in an electromagnetic case and dropped at least 1000 feet deep in the ocean for it to be secure (yes, you will likely here suggestions like that). But how can we live “without care” for all of these headaches? How can we simplify and distill the wilderness of threats to basic tenets that will help us feel no apprehension?


I’ll be sharing the “hows” of this philosophy over the next few weeks and Daily Messages.


I could not effectively focus on protecting others unless and until my own digital life is secure, and I’m “without care”. And, extrapolated out to our entire community, if we all were “without care,” equally secured, the whole of Williams would benefit from the “feeling no apprehension” and could focus on the endeavors that we are here for. I’ll use the next few posts to explain how I’ve achieved that personally, with the hopes that all of you can too.


Happy 2023! Let’s secure ourselves so we can all live “without care” in this regard.