What Is the Second Economy?

Cybercriminals are redrafting the rules of engagement for defending the civilized world, and they are winning. Gaining the upper hand in cybersecurity means rejecting conventional defense paradigms in favor of radical new thinking.

Why the Second Economy Matters

Our conventional dollars-and-cents economy now depends on vulnerable digital systems that constitute a “second economy.” This technological and social realm—where currencies of trust, time, and treasure are traded—is assailed by criminal aggressors seeking profit, principle, or province.

These fast-moving, fast-adapting “black hats,” from hacktivist ideologues to freelance terrorists, govern the terms of cyber conflict; they control the pace of innovation and the nature and timing of assaults. The “white hats,” the second economy’s undervalued defenders, play a perpetual game of catch-up. This must change. Where we have relied on old playbooks, we must be newly unpredictable; where we have hoarded information, we must become collaborative; where we have undervalued cyber defense, we must prioritize it.

The Second Economy Blogs

Why We Wrote This Book

Being part of the constant battle between threat agents and defenders made it clear that we need a wholesale shift in how organizations think about cybersecurity.

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Risky Business: Miscalculating Cyber Threats

The mind is a powerful weapon–of self-deception. Learn how our naturally programmed tendency to miscalculate risk is one more powerful weapon in the enemy’s arsenal.

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About the Authors

Steve Grobman

Steve Grobman is the chief technology officer at McAfee. With more than two decades in senior technical leadership positions, Grobman is a trusted advisor to the industry and media in the field of cybersecurity and the evolving threat landscape. He has published multiple technical papers and books, and holds 24 U.S. and international patents in the fields of security, software, and computer architecture, with another roughly 20 patents pending.

Allison Cerra

Allison Cerra is vice president of marketing and communications at McAfee. An accomplished senior marketing executive, Cerra has co-authored three books exploring how technology is changing business models and user behaviors. She was named “CMO of the Year” and “Top Researcher of the Year” by the Dallas/Fort Worth American Marketing Association, and was recognized as a “Women in Business” honoree by the Dallas Business Journal.

In the News

Huffington Post: To Defend A New World, Discard Old Strategies

A recent DYN cyberattack shows the essential systems that connect us have changed. Is cyber defense keeping up? It’s time for a radical strategy shift.

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