William Saito Argues the Blame Game Helps No One When it Comes to Cyberattacks

Many people and organizations have an irrational sense of invincibility when it comes to cyberattacks. They think that victims of such attacks are sloppy and careless, and that it would never happen to them since they are proactive high-flyers. The reality is that anyone can be a victim, and according to William Saito, this victim-blaming is just making things worse.

Saito gives the example of the Equifax attack in 2017, when hackers gained access to the data on 143 Americans in the credit bureau’s records, including driver’s license and social security numbers. The fall-out has been enormous, with countless class action lawsuits underway and even a lawsuit by the state of Massachusetts on behalf of its citizens.

In Saito’s view, the problem with this rush to hold Equifax accountable for the breach is that it only encourages a lack of candor on the part of data-holders when such events do take place, when we need to encourage greater openness in order to mitigate the negative effects of cyberattacks. Just because an attack is initiated does not mean it will be successful, but it is more likely to be if you ignore it and fail to report it to the authorities.

William Saito is an entrepreneur and international advisor on cybersecurity. He cemented his reputation as the founder of I/O Software, which developed a breakthrough portable fingerprint scanner. The company was eventually purchased by Microsoft, and since then Saito has served as an advisor to several governments and worked as an author and consultant. After selling I/O, Saito moved to Japan where he became active in the country’s venture capital scene, investing in a number of major start-ups. Originally from Los Angeles, California, William Saito attended the University of Riverside, where he started I/O Software in his dorm room.