The previous year was a tough year as far as internet security was concerned. From the string of Adobe Flash Player vulnerabilities to the Hello Kitty data breach that exposed information of 3.3 million users, 2015 was a harsh wakeup call for internet companies to recognize the ever evolving world of security threats. Companies that did not take internet security seriously, manufacturers of consumer appliances connected by IoT, for instance, have now been woken up from their deep slumber to combat the threats to their systems. In a way, this paved the way for a better future. With that in hindsight, this year will mark a new era, wherein governments, organizations, and individuals will have better success dealing with the growing threat of hackers.
Better Payment Systems
It takes hard work and great knowledge to find vulnerabilities in payment systems. Naturally, any hacker wishes to gain maximum returns for hard work and time, however wrong may that be. Therefore, the targets of their attacks are usually the systems used by the wealthy. In 2015, hotels visited by the Who’s Who of the world – Hilton, Starwood, and others – were targeted by hackers and valuable information of their customers compromised. In response, the adoption of point-of-sales systems with EMV chip reading ability has increased. This offers a new layer of protection and the hackers are now forced to move on to less lucrative targets. In essence, they are now forced to divert their attention on less lucrative targets, which acts as a disincentive for them.
Public Interest and Exposure
Interest in computer security has been rejuvenated in the minds of the larger public, at least among those who use computers and other internet enabled devices, thanks in no part to the vulnerabilities of Adobe Flash Player. The realization among people that a seemingly innocuous browser plugin can compromise their system’s integrity has been quite enlightening. In lieu of this, people and corporations now think twice before they install a plugin for their browsers. In fact, Flash is already facing a lot of heat in the market, and may well become obsolete in the coming years. Facebook has already switched to HTML5 to play videos, and most people can get by without requiring to use Flash at all.
Safer Systems for Safer Homes
There has been a growing trend of consumer goods getting connected to the Internet of Things. However, so far, these systems have been far from secure. Sure, they have some level of security layer, but the security on them is more of an afterthought with huge vulnerabilities rather than a concrete defense mechanism. 2015 witnessed breaches in the security of these IoTs enabled devices, and pushed their manufacturers to make security one of the foremost considerations for designing their systems. This is a huge win for consumers.
Better Coordination and Cooperation
Manufacturers of internet enabled products such as cards, refrigerators, and so on, do not have security and safety standards so far. This is largely because the field itself is quite new and the past experience of the players dictated them to maintain their distance from one another, rather than collaborate. Concerns about patent infringement and corporate espionage took center stage. With their own customers being targeted, the manufacturers are now forced to come together and work in unison towards finding better security measures against threats to their systems. The consumers as well as manufacturers stand to benefit from this.
2016 will mark a major milestone in internet security, but it should also be considered that the attacks will grow more sophisticated and become larger in number. In fact, it costs less than a decent shoe to conduct a DDoS attack. Not to mention the fact that there is also free Ransomware software being distributed. But the bright side is that, as the hacker activity grows, the consumer interest and knowledge of Dos and Don’ts also increases, enhancing the combat capabilities of the light side v/s the dark side.