• United States



The keyboard and the Colt

Apr 10, 20173 mins
Cloud SecurityCybercrimeSecurity

Today's hackers are yesterday's gunslingers and should prompt our country into a more serious cybersecurity posture

Venture capitalists talk about an unfair competitive advantage. Business experts talk about leveling the playing field. And everyone else just talks about fair play. But when it comes to warfare everyone wants the unfair, overwhelming competitive advantage.  For years the U.S. military has had this advantage with manpower, equipment, technology and strategies. But a simple change on the order of the invention of the Colt 45 pistol makes all of that moot. 

Long ago in the American West the saying was, “God made men but Sam Colt made them equal.” What this was meant to imply was that a Colt revolver, the first mass-produced, widely-used revolver that held six bullets at a time instead of the previous one-shot pistol, equalized the playing field for combatants. Anyone with the dedication to acquire the skills to use a Colt 45 revolver could defeat a bigger, stronger adversary with a single shot. 

In today’s world the equivalent of a Colt 45 is a keyboard. Think about this: Does it matter that the U.S. has more battleships, aircraft carriers, fighter jets and laser-guided missiles than any other country on Earth when a single cyberattack could render them useless? In short, no. In today’s world an expert on a keyboard is the functional equivalent of a gunslinger. An expert who faces off with a bigger, stronger opponent, sometimes outnumbered or “outgunned” and yet is victorious because of their superior skills.  

Never having had the honor of serving this country in our military I’m an outsider. I have no idea about the training, discipline, physical rigor or dedication it takes to be a soldier, officer or commander. I’ll never know about the hours of conditioning, the fear of battle or the pain of being wounded. What’s scary even to me, though, is that some overweight, breathless, Cheetos-eating, Red Bull-drinking hacker on the other side of world might neutralize all of the capabilities of the military with a single keystroke.  Skilled hackers level the playing field in the same way that the first Colt 45 revolver leveled it in the American West. A smaller, less fearsome and otherwise less capable adversary could take down missiles, the electric grid or the financial system of the country with that keyboard.  

It’s past time for the U.S. to face the reality that warfare has changed forever. We need to create the same kind of programs for cyberspace protection as we have for the armed forces or the Coast Guard. Being an expert marksman or prepared for hand-to-hand combat won’t matter if the vehicle delivering you to the battlefield is hacked and run off the road. Having a $35 million fighter jet, flown by a superb pilot with millions of dollars in training and conditioning won’t matter if a hacker can disable the engines while they are flying at 1000 knots towards a target. 

We need to approach the country’s cybersecurity protection with the same vigor, investment and intensity as we have put into our military for the past 250 years. Either that or risk having some hacker in a dark room a thousand miles away from the nearest battlefield render all of our expertise, manpower and expenditures useless with the Colt 45 of today: their keyboard.


Scott Goldman is the co-founder and CEO of TextPower Inc., which provides personalized and bulk notifications via text messaging to utilities, municipalities, universities and enterprises. He is also an independent director on the board of a $2 billion Fortune 1000 company and has a long track record of wireless, Internet and cybersecurity firsts and successes.

He is a veteran of the wireless industry and holds two patents in cybersecurity two-factor authentication (2FA) technology used for identity access management (IAM). He is known as a dynamic, entrepreneurial executive with deep knowledge and personal contacts at high levels of industry. He has worked closely with companies globally in the development, planning and launching of advanced wireless, Internet and cybersecurity technologies.

For years Mr. Goldman has been conceptualizing, launching, building, operating, licensing and, in several cases, selling technology businesses around the world. He has traveled to more than 20 countries to assist startups, governments and enterprises, and he has written books, magazine articles and blog posts and given keynote speeches at major industry events around the world. He has also been interviewed more than 500 times in major print, radio, TV, and webcast media.

His specialties include executive management, strategic planning, product development, regulatory matters and public relations.

An avid cyclist, Mr. Goldman rides more than 6,000 miles per year through the beautiful Santa Monica Mountains near his home.

For a detailed look at Mr. Goldman's history, visit or his YouTube channel.

The opinions expressed in this blog are those of Scott Goldman and do not necessarily represent those of IDG Communications Inc. or its parent, subsidiary or affiliated companies.