Microsoft cybersecurity chief sizes up ‘growing threat’

Microsoft’s point man on cybersecurity, Charlie Bell, acknowledges that the threat posed by “bad actors” online — including nation states and crime syndicates with their own HR departments — is rapidly rising.

“The threat is growing,” said Bell, who is Microsoft’s executive vice president for security, compliance, identity and management. “It’s amazing how organized the threat has become, and how big it’s become.”

But bit by bit, strategy by strategy, the response to the threat is becoming more organized as well, Bell said today at the GeekWire Summit. Although network security will always be a challenge, he has faith that the tide can be turned.

“We talk a lot about defensive depth,” Bell said. “It’s going to be continually layering the protection on and making the yield that somebody gets … smaller and smaller and smaller, so that you’ve got to break a lot more things before you get any value. And at some point, it becomes far more effort to break enough things to get enough value than it’s worth. And that’s when we know that we’ll fully turn the tide.”

By Alan Boyle

Mastermind of Cosmic Log, contributor to GeekWire and Universe Today, author of "The Case for Pluto: How a Little Planet Made a Big Difference," past president of the Council for the Advancement of Science Writing.

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