Technology is always changing and adapting. So, unfortunately, are cyber-criminals. MIT’s Technology Review website not long ago presented its list of the biggest technology security threats of 2012. If you spend much of your life surfing the web or communicating with your friends through social media sites, you should be curious about this list. Understanding what’s on it can protect you and your computer in 2012.
Stolen, Spoofed Certificates
The biggest problem that the Technology Review article dealt with is the growing quantity of stolen or spoofed certificates. As the article reports, each time you connect to a site, such as 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 had the ability to spoof or steal a number of these certificates. This can help them steal user data or install malicious software on their computers.
A Common Security Mechanism in Trouble?
This is a major problem since the use of certificates and encrypted data is the most common security mechanism on the web. If they can no longer be trusted, that means possible trouble for all computer users.
Another key security challenge that we should become aware of is “hacktivism”. “Hacktivism” is the blend of the words activism and hack. Groups such as Anonymous and LulzSec target corporations that they feel are either guilty of wrongdoings or just want to prove the companies have lax security. Whatever the reason, Technology Review says we should anticipate groups like these to carry on their “hacktivism” well into the future.
The growing popularity of home automation also creates security risks in 2012. As Technology Review writes, an increasing number of automation systems link security systems, thermostats, lights, and even the locks to homes’ front doors to the web. Imagine the damage that hackers can do should they break into these systems.