Internet not as secure as you think, says Akamai CEO Paul Sagan

September 30, 2008

Paul Sagan and Alex S. Jones.

Paul Sagan and Alex S. Jones.

September 30, 2008 — “You should all be very afraid. The Internet is much less secure than you can imagine.” Strong words, and even more so because they came from Paul Sagan, the president and CEO of Akamai. Sagan came to the Shorenstein Center on September 30 to talk about “‘Clever and Cool’ Innovations on the Internet,” but he didn’t hesitate to pull back the curtain and reveal some of the clanking machinery that keeps the web running. “The structure of the Internet isn’t what you think,” he said. “Somebody must manage it. The truth is, nobody does.”

As a former journalist, Sagan also had plenty to say about how news is consumed on the Internet. Because people have so much choice, decisions are made based not on a site’s brand, but its speed. “If a site doesn’t load every page in under four seconds, users will go to a competitor’s site.” The consequence? “Users are changing the channel much more rapidly,” and as a result, “brands don’t matter.”

This article was written by and the photos taken by Leighton Walter Kille of the Shorenstein Center.