Technology is ever changing, and cyber-criminals will be ever adjusting to it. Recently, MIT’s Technology Review published an article regarding technology security threats that we must be aware if in 2012. As many of us devote a significant amount of time online, being conscious of these threats can help safeguard valuable data.
Stolen, Spoofed Certificates
The biggest problem that the Technology Review article covered is the growing quantity of stolen or spoofed certificates. As the article reports, every time you connect to a site, like your bank’s website, your traffic is encrypted using a “certificate” that the site uses to prove to your web browser that it can be trusted. In 2011, though, cyber-criminals could actually spoof or steal several of these certificates. This can help them steal user data or install malicious software on their computers.
A Common Security Mechanism in Trouble?
The use of certificates as a security mechanism is the most common method used currently. If the trustworthiness of these are put into question then that will spell difficulties for all computer users including large companies who are accountable for protecting sensitive data.
Technology Review also pointed to online attacks referred to as “hacktivism” as a key security challenge for this year. Organizations such as Anonymous and LulzSec crack passwords and break into company websites. Often, these groups do so to prove that companies are woefully unprepared to deal with hackers. Sometimes, they target companies or corporations that they believe are responsible for wrongdoing. No matter the motivation, expect these groups to continue their so-called hacktivism in 2012 and beyond.
The growing popularity of home automation also presents security risks in 2012. As Technology Review writes, a growing number of automation systems link security systems, thermostats, lights, and even the locks to homes’ front doors to the web. Think of the damage that hackers can do should they break into these systems.