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  • Donald E. Hester

Achievement Unlocked: Relate Shark Week to Cybersecurity

In the vast ocean of pop culture, an intriguing connection exists between even the most unlikely subjects and the world of cybersecurity. As I found myself discussing the pervasive principles of risk management in our daily lives with a friend, little did I know that my audacious claim would soon be put to the test. During this spirited exchange, my friend, with a mischievous glint in his eye, presented me with an unanticipated challenge: to relate the exhilarating phenomenon of Shark Week to the complex realm of cybersecurity. Undeterred, I welcomed the challenge with open arms, acknowledging that while the task might seem like a daring leap, underlying connections could very well be waiting to be discovered. So, embark on this enthralling journey with me as we explore the unexpected parallels between these seemingly disparate domains, where the ferocity of sharks collides with the invisible currents of cybersecurity, and perhaps uncover a deeper truth: that even in the most diverse of landscapes, the principles of security and risk lurk beneath the surface, ready to be unlocked like a hidden treasure of knowledge.

Can I relate Shark Week with Cybersecurity? Heck yeah. In at least two ways, understanding threat actors helps us in cybersecurity and collaboration is our best defense. Que the Jaws Theme.

Know Your Enemy

During one of the shark specials, the focus was on the surge in shark attacks on humans, particularly along the eastern seaboard. The program presented several factors that could be contributing to this recent increase, including changes in weather patterns and shifts in the food supply. Notably, the episode highlighted a crucial observation: these attacks occurred during a period when the sharks were migrating through the area.

Undoubtedly, the analogy between humans as organizations or individuals and sharks as cyber threat actors is easily apparent. In the vast ocean, anyone becomes a potential target for a shark's bite, just as any individual or organization falls within the reach of cybercriminals. Nevertheless, the true risk of a cyber incident befalling your organization is akin to swimming in chum-infested waters, surrounded by a shiver (look it up) of starving great white sharks - a far more calculated and menacing danger than a random shark attack.

Indeed, beyond the intriguing parallels between Shark Week and cybersecurity, there lies a valuable lesson in risk management. Just as you can reduce your chances of encountering a shark attack by staying out of the ocean when sharks are known to be in the area, a proactive approach to cybersecurity can significantly mitigate the risk of falling victim to cyber threats. Understanding shark migration patterns enables you to avoid becoming shark bait, and similarly, keeping yourself well-informed about cyber threat actors' activities empowers you to steer clear of potential cyber incidents.

Furthermore, just as marine biologists study shark behavior to predict their movements and protect vulnerable areas, cybersecurity experts monitor threat actors' activities to anticipate their next moves. This proactive surveillance allows for the identification of emerging threats and patterns, giving defenders an edge in detecting and neutralizing potential cyber-attacks before they escalate.

Like heeding warning signs of shark activity before taking a plunge into the ocean, cybersecurity awareness and vigilance can be the difference between a secure digital environment and a devastating cyber incident. Embracing a risk-aware culture and fostering a preparedness mindset are crucial steps in minimizing the potential damage of cyber threats and ensuring a safer digital landscape for all. So, just as we navigate shark-infested waters with caution and respect, let us tread the cyber realm with prudence and knowledge, evading potential dangers and emerging unscathed from the depths of the digital abyss.


While watching a National Geographic shark special on Disney+ last week (they are getting in on Discovery Channel's shark week frenzy early), I watched a documentary entitled Saved from a Shark. The show vividly portrayed instances where various marine species united to defend against menacing shark encounters. One striking incident depicted a pod of dolphins forming a protective circle around a bewildered family, and though uncertain of the dolphins' intent, the family soon discovered that the cetaceans were shielding them from a prowling shark. Another compelling scenario featured a whale gracefully lifting a marine biologist out of the water, ensuring her safety by keeping her close to ward off an approaching shark.

In this remarkable display of interspecies collaboration against common threats, the show shared a touching account of Killer whales seeking assistance from a group of humans aboard a boat. The event revolved around a distressed mother Orca, burdened by a buoy entangled in her tail, hindering her swimming abilities. While Killer Whales are renowned for their dominance over sharks, including formidable ones like Great Whites – Port and Starboard being prime examples – the buoy-bound Orca faced an unusual vulnerability. The situation posed a grave danger for both the Killer whale and her calf, leaving them susceptible to becoming prey for opportunistic sharks. Recognizing the plea for help from the intelligent creatures, the humans on the boat eventually understood the message and came to their aid. With heartfelt appreciation, the Killer Whales appeared to express their gratitude for the much-needed assistance, underscoring the profound potential of collaboration between different species in overcoming shared challenges and adversities.

These awe-inspiring tales from the documentary showcased the remarkable interplay between different species, illustrating how nature's alliances can create astonishing acts of defense against shared threats like the formidable predators of the ocean. I think the message is clear: in the vast ocean of cyberspace, no individual or organization can face the dangers alone. Much like how pods of dolphins band together to increase their chances of survival against a menacing shark, cybersecurity thrives on collective efforts. Collaboration, sharing threat intelligence, and pooling resources become our best defense against the ever-evolving dangers lurking in the deep digital waters.


As I draw the final curtain on this captivating journey that intertwined the enthralling world of Shark Week with the dynamic realm of cybersecurity, I hope we find ourselves immersed in a sea of newfound perspectives. Through the lens of Shark Week, we delved into the parallels between the primal instincts of ocean predators and the elusive tactics of cyber threat actors, discovering that the principles of risk management transcend diverse landscapes. Just as we can learn from the remarkable interplay between marine species defending against shared threats, we must embrace collaboration and awareness in our digital ventures to fortify ourselves against cyber incidents.

The fascinating tales of dolphins and whales protecting humans from lurking sharks reminded us of the strength in unity and the significance of collective defense. Similarly, the heartwarming account of humans coming to the aid of an entangled Orca taught us that collaboration between species can transcend barriers, leading to impactful outcomes.

As we return to the shores of our everyday lives, let us carry the lessons of Shark Week and apply them to our cybersecurity endeavors. Let us remain vigilant, staying informed about cyber threat actors' activities and understanding their motives and tactics to safeguard our digital waters. By fostering a risk-aware culture, where knowledge is a potent weapon, we can navigate the unpredictable tides of cyber threats with wisdom and resilience.

So, the next time you hear the ominous Jaws theme, remember that just as sharks prowl the ocean depths, cyber threat actors lurk in the digital shadows. However, armed with the right knowledge and collaboration, we can fend off these predators and ensure a safer, more cyber-safe digital world for ourselves and future generations.


I hope you enjoyed this challenge and found my connections between Shark Week and cybersecurity insightful! My premise was that cybersecurity and risk management relate to almost everything in our lives, even in popular culture. Let's take this opportunity to delve into cybersecurity and relate it to a pop culture reference of your choice. Email me, and I'll be eagerly waiting to accept the challenge!



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