Consumer security awareness is on the rise in America. We should be grateful for that because apathy has a habit of breeding bad outcomes \u2014 for businesses, governments, and individuals.\n\nBut public engagement is still not where it should be. Only one-third of Americans said defending against cyberattacks should be a top priority for the federal government in 2021, for example. When poor security is now costing lives, interrupting food supply chains, driving up the cost of gas, and interfering in our democratic process, why don\u2019t we care more?\n\nThere\u2019s no easy answer. But to break out of this cycle we need to refocus security as a collective effort. That means action must be taken across government, private sector, and consumer spheres.\n\nThreats are everywhere.\n\nSecurity threats on the rise across the US and the world. They take many forms \u2014 from government cyber espionage to ransomware, personal data theft, and fraud. COVID-19 has provided huge opportunity for the multitrillion-dollar cybercrime economy to expand even further. Global ransomware attacks soared 150% year-on-year in 2020, with the average extortion amount doubling. In the US, Q3 2021 saw the number of recorded data breaches pass the figure for the whole of 2020, with estimates predicting a record year.\n\nYet consumers are too often desensitized by what they read in the news, and the security and fraud alerts that flash up on their screens. We say one thing \u2014 that we\u2019d walk away from a brand following a breach \u2014 but when it comes down to it many of us actually do nothing. That only encourages businesses to prioritize cost and convenience over security.\n\nPart of the problem is that many organizations run uninspiring security awareness and training programs for staff, or no courses at all. According to Gartner, 60% of large firms will have a full-time equivalent dedicated to training by 2022. But that leaves some major gaps.\n\nThe result is that large swathes of the population aren\u2019t actively thinking about cybersecurity. We abdicate responsibility to security teams \u2014 in our organization and those working inside the manufacturers and service providers seeking our custom.\n\nBringing it home.\n\nYet security is having an even greater impact on all of our lives. How many waited for hours for gas when Colonial Pipeline was struck by ransomware? How many have had personal and financial details swiped in breaches like Equifax or Capital One, or spent countless hours trying to get their identity and credit rating back? How many have directly lost money in a dating or investment scam? According to the FBI, the former cost victims over $600m in 2020.\n\nWe\u2019ve even seen how greater public engagement can force companies to make improvements. Privacy concerns post-Cambridge Analytica forced Facebook to make major changes to the way it operates. It\u2019s certainly not perfect, but the company is much improved today. A public backlash against privacy-invading smart home assistants also forced greater transparency from the likes of Google, Apple, and Amazon, and more control for users.\n\nYet too often, when it comes to cybersecurity, we all still expect someone else to fix the problem. It\u2019s doubtful whether a single issue could ever cause such collective and immediate pain as to drive wholesale changes.\n\nMaking cybersecurity mainstream.\n\nThe current administration is doing its best to promote greater responsibility among the private sector via a \u201cwhole of nation\u201d approach to cybersecurity. But for this to truly work, we also need to include consumers in the conversation. They can no longer be passive observers of events. This can be done. Here are three key pillars, all of which are essential to creating positive change:\n\nThe bottom line: technology is now wrapped too tightly in the nation\u2019s economic and social fabric to ignore. We need to get better at protecting and preventing it from being a conduit for criminality. That makes cybersecurity everyone\u2019s problem today. And, likewise, improving it is now everyone\u2019s job.