When we’re talking about online security and data privacy, we have to remember that it’s not simply one fight. It doesn’t revolve around doing a certain number of things, and the fight can never be over.
That’s a war between many factions. The three main ones are the government, the regular internet users, and the cyber criminals. These three factions are in online war since the invention of the internet.
The governments want control over it and increased surveillance. On the other hand, the internet users want privacy and security. And then there are hackers, who just want to hack everyone. This struggle can never and, and thanks to that fact, every year brings new things to the online community.
New viruses appear, new antiviruses come as a response. The new hacking group starts terrorizing certain companies and agencies, and new alliances appear to stop them. New ways of protection inspire new ways of attacks, and on, and on it goes. Forever.
But, our topic today isn’t forever, it’s what the experts are expecting in 2017. We’re halfway through the year already, and we can now see what was expected, and what actually happened. It might also give us an insight into what might happen yet. So let’s begin.
The clash of privacy and security
The experts were predicting major clashes between the privacy and security this year, and so far, they were right. Many countries have brought new legislations in the last several years that relate to both of these issues.
Internet users demand their privacy and online security. On the other hand, governments fight to increase surveillance as a method of fighting terrorism.
Examples of this are the UK, US, Australia, and several other countries. They are all bringing new legislations that allow, or even force their ISPs and even telecoms to record users’ information. The details may vary between countries, but the data that’s required to be collected is pretty universal.
They are mostly required to keep those records for a year or so, and governments’ agencies and officials have full access to it.
There are also data protection laws that are expected to go into effect, but that’s still in the future, and we saw how FCC’s attempt to do that went. When it comes to this, the experts were right so far, and we can only wait and see what the future may bring.
The dangers of second-hand electronics
When we don’t need or want some of our electronic devices, we usually give them away or sell them. It’s what companies do, and it’s what individual users do. The usual practice involves deleting our data, photos, videos, and everything else.
Companies do it too before passing these devices on. Business secrets, company’s passwords, future plans and alike are all being deleted or sent to other devices. However, what both the users and companies fail to realize is that bringing this data back is not only possible but sometimes very easy too.
It might come as a shock to many, but recovering the deleted data is still possible. Even if you quick format, or do a factory reset, the data seems to never completely go away. That might pose quite a problem for many, and it’s bound to cause a lot of headaches.
Data remains after companies go
Companies go out of business every day, and new ones take their place. However, those that shut down don’t always do a proper cleanup of their systems. Many servers, data stores, and virtual machines remain operational, and just wait for hackers to get to them.
The fact that the company that the data belongs to is closed doesn’t mean that data can’t be used. And it can also cause a lot of harm. Closing down the companies must include proper cleanups. Otherwise, many people and other businesses might end up in danger.
Growth of IoT
Internet of Things was expected to grow, and we can witness this prediction becoming true every day. Almost every day, new devices appear on the market. Both new and old are still selling very well.
There’s rarely a house without some of the IoT devices inside. However, all of these devices can also be hacked very easily. It’s enough for the buyer/user to not change the factory login credentials for the hackers to get control of the device.
They can then use them for data collecting, spying on users, and even for organizing botnets for DDoS attacks. Witnessing IoT growing up is amazing. Still, its flaws are great, and especially those with a connection to its security. That’s hardly surprising since this is still something new and young, but it needs to get its priorities straight.
A greater threat will come from ransomware, spear phishing, and direct attacks
This has also come true already, and we’ve had several chances to see just how devastating these attacks are. If you need a reminder, just remember what a ransomware called WannaCry managed to do a few weeks back.
Half the world was on its knees before this threat, and it all happened during one weekend. On the other hand, spear phishing, which are the phishing attacks that target a certain group of people, are becoming more often. These attacks are often the most successful when it comes to tracking their targets.
That’s mostly because of the fact that they’re tricking them with something that the targets can relate to. Regular phishing attacks are literally guessing what might track their target. They’ll send a fake tax report to an old person, a teenager, as well as to someone who’s might actually be interested or concerned by the report.
Spear phishing attacks are more precise, and the consequence is that they’re more successful.
The possible attack on the US power grid
Just as concerning matter as the rest of them, it might become a reality if the BlackEnergy malware manages to infiltrate the energy sector. It already proved what it can do during the Christmas outage in Ukraine in 2015.
Ever since then, the experts are warning about this danger. Doubts and suspicions are all that the researchers have for now, but that can change at any time.
The possibility of the nation state attacks
This is something that the world started fearing after the US elections. There were many allegations of foreign hackers’ involvement, but so far, there’s no proof that any of that is true.
Still, the whispers about Russian hackers influencing the elections and putting the current US President Donald Trump in the spotlight won’t go away. The democratic elections in Europe are on high alert, but nobody knows what to expect.
The continued research of quantum computing
The race for achieving quantum computing will probably continue to the end of 2017, and perhaps even further down the road. Many nations are investing large sums of money in hope that their scientists will make the desired breakthrough.
It’s no secret that the first ones to figure it out will have a massive leverage in the world of tech. Of course, even achieving it will have a large impact not only on the tech but also on society. There are expectations that the cryptography will end up in crisis if researchers manage to develop the quantum computing.
Also, from its discovery, many new opportunities may arise. At this point, pretty much anything can happen, so all that we can do is to wait and see.
The DDoS attacks records might break some records
The researchers noticed a large increase in DDoS attacks through the years. Also, they expect that the attacks might break all records during this year. The situation doesn’t look good, and pretty much every organization that depends on the internet needs to prepare itself for such attacks.
It’ll matter where you store your data
Expectations are predicting the increase in data storage interests as well. Apparently, companies would like more to store data in certain places, especially the ones like the UK, as opposed to others.
Businesses might move due to this, and the old storage units will have to get a good cleanup. Also, this includes more than a couple of computers. Instead, large-scale cleanups will have to occur. And if the cleanups aren’t successful, who knows what secrets might end up in the hands of hackers.
Expectations for this years were and still are great when it comes to security and privacy of data. There’s new development almost every day, some good, some bad.
Some would say that the protection is all that matters, others believe that progress can’t happen without threats. Whatever you might agree with, the fact is that the online world and its community are evolving on a daily basis.