“Exactly how detailed are the background checks?” asked my uncle. “Do they look into your whole family?” Of all the responses my friends and family gave to the news I was changing careers to retrain in cyber security, this was probably the most curious – but also perhaps the most telling of the age we live in.
My uncle has still not said whether he was nervous about what awaited me on the frontiers of the internet, or what family skeletons might be unearthed during the vetting process. But his reaction sums up the concerns we might all feel from time to time about how vulnerable our personal information can be once it’s uploaded and online.
From the horror stories that we often read of hacking, phishing and malware – let alone the WannaCry ransomware attack which briefly paralysed the NHS and companies around the world last week – you’d be forgiven for worrying that clicking a few buttons can be all it takes to find someone’s secrets, cripple a bank, and potentially bring our nation’s infrastructure juddering to a halt.