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Security Trend May 5, 2016

Posted by kmeach in 2016 Trends.

Security Trend 2016

This topics course at Marquette University focused on technological trends in 2016.  Cyber security is an important trend to consider.  We have all read about security breaches in recent years.  These have occurred at Home Depot, Target, and even Apple.  These are companies that service a large portion of US consumers.  When our identities are stolen as part of our transactions with these companies, it affects our lives and makes national news.  This has happened so often lately, the issue has become a technological trend.

We should first consider the definition of the security we are talking about.  Cybersecurity is the protection of information systems from theft or damage to the hardware, the software, and to the information on them. It includes controlling physical access to the hardware, as well as protecting against harm that may come via network accessdata and code injection, and due to malpractice by operators, whether intentionalaccidental, or due to them being tricked into deviating from secure procedures. [1] This definition is broad and accurately describes the depth security plays in information systems.  When thinking about the scope and impact of this trend, all of these variables should be considered.

The scope of potential impact of this trend can be far reaching just as the definition is.  Established in 1969, ISACA is a global nonprofit association of 140,000 IT audit, risk, governance and cybersecurity professionals in 180 countries.  Research studies and insights from ISACA’s Cybersecurity Nexus (CSX) reveal trends in security that are expected to surface in 2016, including: cyber extortion will hit wearables, hackers will target cloud providers, and cybersecurity will become the “it” job of IT. [2]  These issues have started to happen and one famous occurrence happened during our class this semester.  The FBI recently asked Apple to unlock an Iphone to access an Icloud account.   They wanted a secret key to unlock all Iphones.  While this is not a black hat hacker, it is a similar idea, and the concept of data ownership and trust is key.  PR was spun to measure and sway public opinion, news reports were filed, and Apple was threatened with legal action if it did not comply with helping the FBI.  Apple did not comply, but another company did step in and eventually help break the one Iphone code.  If Apple had buckled, this would have been a major breach of security for all Iphone users.  If Apple had caved it would have sent a message that any group of hackers worldwide would know they could extort the company from that point forward.  It also would have been made public that their devices were no longer secure.  The amount of users this would have affected is staggering.  There are currently over 40 million Iphone users just in the US [3].

The growth of IT security can best viewed through sales figures of the devices we use everyday.  The first Iphone sold 6.1M units in 2007.  Apple sold 44M iphones in just the fourth quarter of 2015 [4].  These sales figures illustrate the growth of users now using mobile phones worldwide.  These consumers are not just using personal computers for an hour in the evening to check an account or play a game.  They are now carrying mobile computers with them all day long and using them morning to night to help with all their tasks.  These are no longer adults either.  These users are now young children and elderly.  This concept of user growth leads to questions of the security required.  If not just for improving security algorithms, the growth of security can be seen in other areas such as the enterprise level, consumer level, programming level, and data level.  These needs can be seen in the various new tasks, procedures, monitoring requirements, reporting issues, and documenting functions required to keep people safe and secure.  The concept of security really has become pervasive due to the shifting use and growth of technology.

A use case is best to describe this trend.  My neighbors were part of the Target data breach.  They were alerted by Target and credit monitoring was provided to them.  In the same period of time they also had their tax return fraudulently submitted to the IRS by someone else using their information.  While it is hard to directly link the two events since no one was ever charged with a crime, it seems rather odd to have happened just months apart.  In their discussions with the IRS that year, and in the years since, they have been told that fraud has been increasing year to year as data is more available and being stolen and returns are being submitted online by hackers over and over.  This has cost my neighbors hundreds of hours of time trying to fix this issue over the years and shows the growth and need for increased and improved cyber security.

My team this semester wrote a similar paper on IT security.  We focused more on the Internet of Things.  Our conclusions for that topic are similar to my conclusions for this general security research.  Due to the increased number and diversity of users, devices, and applications I feel that continuous improvement of security is required, agility of techniques should always be considered, and improved security training is required at both the organizational and consumer levels.  I do not feel that security as it is today will be adequate in the near future.  I believe that new methods of security should be investigated just as new methods of hacking are being developed.  Finally, I think that the manufacturers and the government should offer more security training to at risk individuals, especially children and elderly.



[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Computer_security

[2] http://www.reuters.com/article/il-isaca-idUSnBw165814a+100+BSW20151216

[3] http://www.statista.com/statistics/232790/forecast-of-apple-users-in-the-us/



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