As technology changes cyber-criminals adapt to it. Recently MIT’s Technology Review published an article about the biggest technology security threats of 2012. Most of us spend much of our time online: working, surfing the Web, or just chatting with friends via social media. If you spend time online, being aware of these threats can help defend you and your data.
Stolen, Spoofed Certificates
The biggest problem that the Technology Review article covered is the growing number 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 could actually spoof or steal a number of these certificates. This can help them steal user data or install harmful 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 prevalent security mechanism on the web. If they can no longer be trusted, that means probable trouble for all computer users.
Another important security challenge that we should become aware of is “hacktivism”. “Hacktivism” is the blend of the words activism and hack. Groups like Anonymous and LulzSec target businesses that they believe 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 continue their “hacktivism” well into the future.
The growing popularity of home automation also presents security risks in 2012. As Technology Review writes, a growing number of automation systems connect alarm systems, thermostats, lights, and in some cases the locks to homes’ front doors to the internet. Imagine the damage that hackers can do if they break into these systems.