Security Challenges and Hacktivism

Technology is always changing and adapting. So, unfortunately, are cyber-criminals. MIT’s Technology Review website recently presented its list of the biggest technology security hazards 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, whenever 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 were able to 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?

The use of certificates as a security mechanism is the most typical method used currently. If the trustworthiness of these are put into question then that can spell trouble for all computer users including large companies who are in charge of protecting sensitive data.

Technology Review also pointed to online attacks called “hacktivism” as a key security challenge for this year. Groups such as Anonymous and LulzSec crack passwords and break into company sites. Commonly, these groups do so to demonstrate that companies are woefully unprepared to address hackers. Sometimes, they target companies or corporations that they believe are responsible for wrongdoing. No matter the motivation, anticipate these groups to continue their so-called hacktivism in 2012 and beyond.

Home Automation

Home automation is a increasing trend, and in 2012 this may be a security risk. This means that lights, thermostats, even locks are linked to the Internet to allow them to be managed remotely. Imagine if hackers got into these systems, they could do some serious damage.


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