The future of network security looks quite promising as new and amazing technologies come out every day. Network security is a significant area to watch in the years to come as by 2018, there will be 10 billion mobile-ready devices such as computers and cell phones used. This large number of individuals who can access the internet needs to be met with an equally-sized defense against cyber-attacks and breaches of information. Cloud computing, the potential risks of the future of the internet, the Internet of Things (IoT), the introduction of a digital work officer to businesses, legal issues, intelligent/context-aware security analytics, the EU Data Protection Regulation, ransomware, social engineering, people-centric security, AI, VR, and website protection will also be explained.
There are many coming changes to the internet of the future, and network security will have to change as well to keep up. The internet as we know it is set to undergo significant changes in the coming years as technology becomes more advanced and easily accessible to all. Internet speeds may seem fast already, but in the future, there is a potential to see speeds previously thought to be impossible. With these changes, many new forms of technology will become available for anyone to enjoy such as virtual and augmented reality, wearable devices, as well as microchip implants. Artificial intelligence will also make enormous strides as the internet becomes faster and widely-accessed. The entire planet will eventually become connected, enabling anyone to communicate freely without geographical borders. The internet will even help us colonize other planets by providing us with the necessary means of communication. It is safe to say it will be quite fascinating to watch what the future holds for the internet. While this all sounds exciting, without the proper security defenses, we will all be susceptible to attacks.
Small businesses will be impacted by the future of network security as well, and it is essential to know how it is going to change, especially if you are a business owner. While a simple username and password are deemed efficient by many, this practice is being phased out as they do not encrypt sensitive data. These credentials are also easily guessed or hacked with brute force style attacks. Malware is increasing in complexity by the minute, and some hazardous types are being created such as Crypto Locker. This form of malware software hijacks a computer and encrypts specific files, making the content useless. As technology becomes more advanced, so will these types of malicious items and we must be ready.
Complex botnets will become more frequent as the IoT grows with new devices. With the billions of additional users in the IoT, billions of extra bots can be created. The internet of the future will open technologies that we can only dream of, however, just like most new technologies, cybercriminals have access to them as well. With the introduction of Gigabit Internet speeds, criminals now can hack more differently and quickly. This allows hackers to overwhelm defenses with the help from lightning-fast internet speeds. These threats need to be able to be stopped before they build up to the point of no return, something that only an AI could manage.
Currently, we see the rise of organized internet crime organizations like Anonymous growing in popularity and power. These groups of hackers and activists are becoming more organized due to sophisticated communication tools that allow them to talk to each other without the fear of being caught. These organizations will continue to grow as our world continues our digital transformation. As most of us wouldn’t survive without being connected to the grid, it can be intimidating to have hackers who can disrupt it. For example, if the power grids were ever hacked and shut down we would starve and riot, or we all wake up one morning, and all of our debt is erased. Hopefully, it’s the latter! Just recently, it appears that Russia was involved with hacking the United States election. Hackers are literally shaping the world to their will. To be able to combat against these types of threats, every device connected to the internet must have sophisticated security protection, and the fight against cybercrime needs to evolve at the rate that the criminals are.
According to Bridget Shrivell of PBS.org, as the internet and technology grow in the future, “Abuses and abusers will evolve and scale,” (2016, Shrivell, Bridget) which include cyber bullies, crime, and sex offenders. We see the destruction of the internet and social media can have on people; commonly involving bullied or shamed young teens for things like weight, sexual preference, or race. As we all continue to become more connected to each other with technologies like Facebook’s Live stream feature, we are beginning to already see quite the blowback. Just recently, a few murders have been live streamed on Facebook Live for the entire world to see. While it only takes a few individuals to ruin something for everyone, this broadcast of hate and violence should be fought against, and Mark Zuckerberg, the CEO of Facebook, recently announced that their company “would be hiring 3,000 moderators to comb the feature for footage of self-harm, violence, hate speech, and child exploitation.” (2017, Zuckerberg, Mark) This intrusive and low-tech method of monitoring its users is required as there is really no way to prevent bad content in a live stream before it happens.
Where do we start with the question of how to combat cybercrimes in the future? Let’s begin by discussing data centers. Form factor independence will be a common thing when it comes to protecting against cyber criminals. Network security must turn into an architecture where it is possible to put any kind of security control on any type of form factor, from anywhere in the network. This approach needs to be flexible where services can be implemented and migrate to another form factor, per the situation. Network security must act like a fluid, changing shape to fit any container.
As technology continues to grow, one of the main advantages many like is the simplicity of use of our devices. Central management is critical in providing a single place where a user can create and move policies around, acquire data, and create detailed reports. Managing entire networks without a simple and easy management tool can be quite the chore and every year our species’ internet usage increases. One way to accomplish all of this is by using a software-based control plane which is created using the data of performance spikes, application flows, and common workloads. The growth of the size and complexities of data centers will continue to rise far into the future and constantly change. To protect it, we must have an expansive mixture of hardware and software security services set in place which understands the behavior of the data center and automatically readjusts to fit its needs and do so at fast speeds. While this may seem like a hard task for even a computer program to accomplish, artificial intelligence just might be the answer.
Artificial Intelligence (AI) will be a significant factor in the future of cybersecurity. AI can improve our productivity by finishing tasks that require a large amount of time in a matter of seconds as well as protect the data regularly. Google’s self-driving car is a prime example of how this technology can make massive changes, but it also opens up the question, can you hack a car? AI technology can replace many jobs that humans currently have as well as perform them at a much faster rate and free of errors, which makes AI an ideal candidate for cybercrime prevention. Some other uses for this technology are in healthcare, where an AI could learn and predict real-world risk factors of disease and how to prevent it. This same thing can happen with cybersecurity. While companies are already making devices that have AI technology which learns about the user such as Amazon Alexa and Google Home, we still have a long way to go before the technology and what it needs to support it are met, specifically internet speeds.
As discussed earlier, creating stronger centralized management is necessary. There are efforts to adopt a uniform language for the complexities of cybersecurity challenges. The rising amount of additions to the Internet of Things (IoT) needs to be integrated together, and one method that could work is the Structured Threat Information Expression (STIX). STIX is a standardized XML programming language for conveying cybersecurity threat data in one common language. According to STIX’s website, STIX “is a structured language for describing cyber threat information so it can be shared, stored, and analyzed in a consistent manner.” STIX can also be used manually by using an XML editor or programmatically by using Python and Java.
Cisco wants to spread security around virtual switches, networking equipment, and security appliances. Cisco CEO John Chambers is taking “an architectural approach” to the problem. Chambers promises to release an open roadmap of its security plan, written “from the ground up,” in the next few months. HP is on the rise as well in the field of future network security recently by making several announcements regarding storage management and wireless access. Network security companies are frantically trying to reinvent defense methods and programs as the digital war continues.
Internet in its current state is always in a state of evolution as more of the devices we use today require an internet connection. The internet is what connects the world together, and with it, we are able to do great things. In the near future, we will be literally connected to each other by means of wearable tech and microchip implants which will monitor our health, provide us with the ability to communicate to each other effortlessly regardless of location, and even give us access to our next stage of evolution when we make the transition from our living bodies to a robotic platform. The Internet is the means to it all, and without it, we would fail in achieving our dreams of becoming a higher species. This magnitude of new devices and technology will require robust and sophisticated defense software and practices to protect our information and data.
Looking ahead into the future, many imagine seeing flying cars, robotic implants, and clean and sustainable energy. However, to make any of that work, we must be able to defend against all forms of attacks. Criminals are getting smarter, realizing that instead of robbing a bank, for example, they could hack it online without even leaving home. Cloud computing is currently very popular, and its use is going to continue to grow. Since cloud computing doesn’t necessarily happen on hardware, our sensitive data is always up there waiting for someone to grab it. A group of hackers recently held a popular new season of a show on Netflix for ransom and then released it to the public for free when the company didn’t pay. It is this sort of thing we must avoid at all costs in the years to come. No matter what the future brings, those of us involved with network security will be ready for the fight.
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