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Today's Predictions For Tomorrow's Internet

Community Manager

By Jim Jenkins, BECU Cybersecurity


Our technology is evolving rapidly, and there’s evidence of it everywhere you look. Ten years ago, smartphones were considered more of a splurge than a necessity; today most people can’t imagine their life without one. While these technological advancements offer convenience and connections to our lives, they also create new avenues and opportunities for threats. The internet, as a globally accessible network enabling access to information, people and electronic devices, could one day be our biggest threat of all.


What does the future of the internet look like?
As a cybersecurity professional, it’s my job to imagine the worst possible scenario. Cybercriminals are continually evolving their skills and knowledge and, while our tools and methods for fending off attacks are becoming more sophisticated, so too are the attacks. Here are a few things I foresee for the future:

· Privacy will be fleeting. More and more of your private data will be hacked from companies you do business with online, and attacks will become more sophisticated and harder to repel.
· Rotten Apples©. Apple products will become more of a focus for hackers. Despite being an industry leader, they are just as vulnerable as other operating systems. While they may not be targeted now, that could very well change in the future.
· You will have to constantly prove who you are. In the near future, you won’t be able to use a single password to sign into your account, regardless of the technology or industry. Multi-factor authentication is fast becoming the standard for information security and data protection.
· Zombie attacks will be more prevalent. Even in today’s media, you can read stories about home devices seeming to “have a mind of their own.” Did you hear about the woman in Portland? Her Amazon Echo device recorded a conversation and shared it with one of her husband’s employees in Seattle. Yikes! Stories like these are becoming more common. As consumers purchase more home automation systems like Alexa or Google Home, they may become more vulnerable to zombie attacks by hackers.
· Ransomware wins. We’ll see more phishing attacks being generated from other countries, especially as ransomware becomes more prevalent and sophisticated.

What can you do to protect yourself?
While most of these tips are commonly known, it’s important to remember a few key practices to help keep yourself, your family, and your home secure.

· Protect your digital home. Secure your Wi-Fi network, enable stronger authentication and keep your anti-virus software up to date. Before you download or install a new app, be sure you’ve verified it.
· Stop and think before you connect. Encrypt files containing any private or confidential data before you send them and be sure information is from a known source before accepting an invitation, clicking on a hyperlink, or visiting a web site. Also, be cautious of using public Wi-Fi networks and never use one for accessing private data. When you’re in public places, always be sure your screen is hidden from others’ views.
· Mobile security matters too. As we become increasingly dependent on our smartphones or tablets, it’s important to be secure. Use strong passwords, keep your software up to date and be careful what and when you post. Disable remote connectivity to your device and never download apps or access sites that you don’t know and trust.

Without a crystal ball, it’s hard to know exactly what to expect from tomorrow’s internet. One thing is for certain: it’s our individual responsibility – today and every day – to consider current and future technological risks and to take action to empower and protect ourselves.

Up next: the Internet Wants YOU!
Stay tuned next week, as we'll be talking about the growing field of cybersecurity, where there’s expected to be a shortage of 1.8 million information security workers by 2022.