Since computer scientist Tim Berners-Lee developed hypertext markup language in the late 1990s, the internet has matured at breakneck speed. This progression has proven both exciting and anxiety-inducing for information technology professionals, many of whom have spent nearly three decades developing, implementing and replacing countless hardware and software iterations.
Now, with the explosion of digital interconnectivity, it is critical to explore everyone’s role in protecting our cyber ecosystem. Smart cities, connected healthcare devices, digitized records and smart cars and homes have become our new reality. But it’s our personal data that’s the fuel making smart devices work. While there are tremendous benefits of massive interconnectivity, it is critical to understand how to use cutting-edge technology in safe and secure ways.
While no one truly knows what the future holds, experts at IBM Security took a look into the future through the lens of the connected internet and identified strategies for security, safety and privacy for tomorrow’s internet.
The Year of Mobile Malware?
Michelle Alvarez, threat researcher and editor: I predict that some of our predictions will fail — gasp! It’s true, though. We’re human, therefore fallible. Just look at Y2K predictions. And if we had a magic ball, we would have all invested handsomely in bitcoin in 2013 and be close to retirement at this point.
We do get some things right, though. Take our ransomware prediction, for instance: WannaCry made that one come to fruition in 2017. But I think we’re still waiting for the explosion of mobile malware. Don’t get me wrong — it’s a serious threat, I just don’t think we’re ready to call 2018 the Year of Mobile Malware.
An Application Security Wake-Up Call
Neil Jones, market segment manager for application security: A major data breach or a physical security incident will result in casual users taking location tracking capabilities on their mobile applications much more seriously. Applications will also be more likely to inform users that location information is being easily provided to other global users of the apps.
The Increasing Importance of Incident Response
Limor Kessem, executive security advisor: Incident response will be more important than ever for consumers and businesses alike. An incident response plan will be the business of anyone operating an endpoint, including consumers, whether using the internet on a desktop, laptop or mobile device.
As a consumer, do you have a backup system set up for your important files and cherished memories? It is easy to set up cloud backups, and a low-cost option is to also own an external drive you can save your files to and keep disconnected from the endpoint.
Do you know what to do to secure your online accounts? What if your password somehow gets reset and a criminal takes over your account? Do you have a setup that will inform you of an issue outside a short message service (SMS) message?
How about securing your personal details? With personally identifiable information (PII) roaming the internet like never before, you might be the last to find out when your data has been compromised and used by a criminal. From medical fraud to insurance fraud to taking out a loan in your name, criminals will stop at nothing, and often money will only be the start of the problem.
Questioning Two-Step Verification
Many systems are using the two-step verification authentication approach, also known as two-factor authentication. But hackers are finding ways around it. Here’s how.
Effortless Data Sharing
Data already drives daily life to some extent. However, the act of sharing information is still a relatively conscious and voluntary, as users choose to build bridges between the devices with which they interact. This is poised to change, according to the Pew Research Center.
Over the next decade, the device density will increase dramatically, eventually growing to a point that can facilitate effortless, entirely automated information sharing. In short, data will flow like electricity, David Clark, a senior researcher at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, told Pew.
Digital device proliferation trends seem to support this claim. The number of active connected fixtures is expected to grow 31 percent by the end of the year, resulting in the activation of 8.4 billion data-transmitting wireless devices worldwide, according to Gartner.