Security Challenges and Hacktivism

As technology changes cyber-criminals adjust to it. Recently MIT’s Technology Review published an article about the biggest technology security threats of 2012. The majority 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 shield you and your data.

Stolen, Spoofed Certificates

The biggest problem that the Technology Review article dealt with is the growing number of stolen or spoofed certificates. As the article reports, anytime you connect to a site, like 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?

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

Another common security concern is what is termed “Hacktivism”. Cyber-criminals look at this as activism through hacking, hence the name. Groups like Anonymous and LulzSec target large businesses that they believe are guilty of wrongdoing. They also target companies to demonstrate the susceptibility and weakness of them. Technology Review believes that groups like these will continue “hacktivism” for a long time.

Home Automation

In 2012 another security risk is the growing popularity of home automation. People connect alarm systems, lights, even locks, to the internet to automate their homes. If respected companies are not used or if hackers get into these systems imagine the damage that can be done.