Remote working sees cybersecurity questions soar on Stack Overflow

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Popular developer Q&A platform Stack Overflow has shared that the shift to remote work has prompted more cybersecurity questions across platforms than any breach. 

To do their bid for the cybersecurity awareness month, Stack Overflow analyzed the cybersecurity topics across the developer collaboration platform to track the evolution of security conversations within the developer community.

Its analysis revealed that the previous biggest peak in questions came right after Yahoo! disclosed its 2013 breach in 2016 and later announced another larger breach at the end of the same year.

Interestingly though the volume of security-related questions at the start of lockdown exceeded that of any year in Stack Overflow history, notes Stack Overflow’s Senior Data Analyst, David Gibson.  

Pandemic pandemonium

Gibson says that historically security-related activity across the platform appeared to be tied to major breaches. All that changed with the en-masse shift to remote work in the beginning of 2020.

“Stack Overflow saw an undeniable pandemic-related spike at the beginning of 2020 when the shift to remote work prompted a nearly 60% increase in questions related to authentication,” notes Gibson.

His analysis also confirmed a correlation between the types of security incidents, and the volume of questions. For instance, when there’s a breach due to a software vulnerability, cybersecurity-related questions within the developer community rise too.

“While vulnerabilities are inevitable, developers shifted from just reacting to breaches to proactively trying to secure everyone during the move to remote work,” concludes Gibson, noting that the biggest takeaway from the analysis is the shift to a culture of learning.

Mayank Sharma

With almost two decades of writing and reporting on Linux, Mayank Sharma would like everyone to think he’s TechRadar Pro’s expert on the topic. Of course, he’s just as interested in other computing topics, particularly cybersecurity, cloud, containers, and coding.