The future of internet security: some positives and negatives

The Digital Age has ushered in a remarkable new era of work, play, travel, research, communication, all-around connectivity, banking, and more. From refrigerators that tell your smartphone when you need to buy milk to medical technology more advanced than much of our science fiction, every day seems to reveal yet another Brave New World, where the future is now.

While much of the progress has been positive — advanced prostheses, for example — there have been plenty of negatives too: conflict minerals and the wars they’ve fueled, for example.

Internet security is no exception, as the struggles to keep data, people, processes, and more secure has both positives and negatives that can be highlighted. Here is a closer look at just a couple of the pros and cons regarding the future of Internet security, as we all work to keep ourselves, our money, our systems, and our data safe across the World Wide Web.


Fingerprint Technology

Pin numbers, passwords, and encryption have, in many ways, proven themselves to be little more than time-consuming layers in a cake that the right cybercriminal can just eat through. These days, Internet security is headed into the land of biology and forensics with bio technology that’s meant to short circuit any attempts a thief may make to use a credit card that isn’t his or access data he isn’t supposed to.

With fingerprint technology that embeds your unique fingerprint inside a plastic card like the Match-On-Card, the hope is that theft via plastic will become a thing of the past, and so long as the fingerprint is truly inextractable, that hope may be true.

Quantum Cryptology

Unlike more traditional encryption methods, quantum cryptology makes use of physics instead of math to encode and decode information. For example, when the Swiss voted in their parliamentary elections in 2007, their votes were transmitted by an encrypted key that had been generated by photons.

Traditional encryption makes use of a key that is based on numbers, and, as such, can be broken with numbers. Quantum cryptology, however, relies on the unpredictable nature of matter and energy at the minute quantum level to create keys that are nearly impossible to crack, since they’re based in tiny, packets of light instead of math.


Digital Convergence

Thanks to the massive amount of digital convergence that is already in place and that is on the way, a security breach on someone’s email account can lead to a breach in her banking, cell phone, retirement portfolio, smart toilet, and music collection. How? Well, the same connectivity that makes it easy for individuals and employees to move between devices for work and play also makes it easy for cyber criminals to access everything that’s a part of that connection.

Hacking one device or connection becomes akin to opening the door to every device and connection, and it remains to be seen what the best defense is against this threat given the fact that consumers want more and more digital convergence in their everyday lives.

Privacy Will Keep Declining

One of the worst aspects of the fight to stay secure — both in terms of data and threats like terrorism — is the erosion of privacy that seems to necessarily accompany any discussion or practice of the security battle. More and more, governments are demanding access — whether publicly or privately — to data and records in an attempt to ward off criminal activity that often has national security interests at stake.

Additionally, non-governmental hackers are finding there are many welcome outlets for everything from data on cheating spouses to private emails that reveal the extent to which Sony execs pay women in leading roles less than they pay men. Whether it’s the government, a hacker collective, or an individual troll hell-bent on ruining a single individual by revealing photos or using stolen data to blackmail, the future of our increasingly connected lives seems to be increasingly at odds with our ability to maintain a little bit of privacy.

The future of Internet security looks as much like a tug of war as it does a battle, as both sides make advancements in shoring it up and tearing it down. Who will win out remains to be seen, but it’s fair conjecture to say that some loss — in terms of data, privacy, or use — is probably inevitable.



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