Over time, computer privacy and security has become more important, and also, more susceptible to attack. With more options for both hardware and software for the privatisation of personal information and to secure important data, it is often difficult for users to choose their preferences. However, the current and future trends of computer privacy and security are making it easier for consumers to do so, and these techniques are the focus of the research presented below.
Seven current trends that both society and major corporations are following in light of recent computer privacy and security techniques have been listed in recent times. These particular techniques have been implemented over the past year, and have both potential advantages and disadvantages for future trends.
Firstly, cloud computing has become quite popular over the year, in particular for its user compatibility with various software packages and data storage facilities. Much of the cloud computing tasks can be achieved over secure connections, and are also becoming a viable alternative to transferring important data over private connections. Many companies have invested into cloud computing as an alternative use for storage, or have completely transferred corporate data to the cloud.
The future trend will continue to see consumers and even corporate professionals use mobile devices for business; however, security has yet to be advanced to such a level that this will become the major trend at this point in time. This is because there have many security breaches in mobile platforms and applications, with large amounts of personal data becoming the property of cyber hackers, especially during general attacks on wireless networks (Abel, 2011). Nevertheless, once a more secure security platform is rolled out, consumers and corporate professionals will be inclined to use their smartphones and mobile devices primarily for business purposes.
Secondly, a current trend that many software firms have invested into is sandboxing, also known as open software development. This allows software developers to experiment and identify pros and cons of software applications, even though they may not be employees of the company, whether it is Google, Apple or Microsoft. Many companies have benefited greatly from sandboxing, and it is becoming a current trend that will expand into the future trend of sandboxing in mobile applications. This will encourage widespread adoption of computer security, as software or computer applications that have been sandboxed have higher levels of security than those that have not been sandboxed.
Thirdly, operating systems has come under persistent attacks by malware attackers, and this problem has continued to increase with operating systems such as Microsoft. Often, it only takes one click for unwary consumers to be fraudulently robbed of their confidential information. In particular, cross-platform software, such as Java and Flash, have become major targets for malware attackers, as Mac users have also come under attack in recent times. Although Apple products were safely guarded security wise until now, these have also come under threat (Aycock, 2012). Consumers need to be more aware of such vulnerabilities and guard against them in the future.
Fourthly, hacktivists, as they are currently known as, have begun to attack public computer infrastructure on a wider scale. This has led to defacement of corporate webpages, blocking access to corporate data, and tampering with open source codes. However, corporations have begun to step up security with the increase of attacks, making it harder for hacktivists to penetrate computer security applications. However, this trend is set to increase into the future.
Fifthly, quick response (QR) codes have become very easy and very accessible as a current trend to identify and locate information regarding companies and products, especially using wireless networks. However, these QR codes have been faked and duplicated by open-source QR generators, operated by cyber attackers (Camastra, Ciaramella, and Staiano, 2011). This has led to many consumers purchasing products or services that appear to be from credible organizations, but are actually false. Therefore, many companies have begun to officially authenticate their QR codes by linking them back to company websites or by more secure means. Some companies have also begun to experiment with near-field communication (NFC), which has also led to pros and cons for widespread use by consumers.
NFC has changed the way everyday transactions take place. Installed on newer credit cards and mobile devices are small computer chips which allow purchases to become approved instantaneously, without the need for authorization or personal identification. Although this saves time and in some cases money, it also makes it easier for more fraudulent cases of identity theft, particularly as credit cards and mobile phone devices can be stolen and used for many unauthorized transactions. As large banks and mobile phone manufacturers embrace this trend, it may be harder for consumers to protect themselves against such fraudulent cases unless physically securing valuables takes place.
Sixthly, large companies such as Google, Apple and also wireless providers have utilized the advent of digital wallets, commonly known as electronic wallets. Using this trend, electronic gift cards and other purchases can be completed online using the Android, iOs or other platforms. This has also come under attack recently by hackers, and consumers are urged to keep a detailed record of all incoming and outgoing transactions.
Lastly, the downloading of freeware has become an open target for back-door hackers to infiltrate computers, both online and offline. Most free software is readily able to be installed, and often records personal information for software use. However, as freeware is often developed independently by freelance software developments or small firms, this information can be used for public use or transferred to other companies, without written or verbal permission of the user. Therefore, consumers must be wary when using freeware and providing personal information. Research shows that the use of personal computers and the Internet is widely diffused (Lian and Xue, 2010).
As a result, much of the computer operating system, software programs, and daily usage of personal computer privacy and security rely and are incorporated with internet use. This not only allows users to access extra features of the operating system and software, but also opens a way for cyber hackers to infiltrate computer privacy and security on a large scale.
There are three main ways that consumers can guard against these attacks, especially as current and future trends become embraced by many consumers worldwide. Firstly, all personal and confidential information should be backed up externally, whether on external hard drives or in the cloud, as many consumers are doing now. This provides a secondary storage option and also a backup for consumers to access if files are fraudulently exposed or attacked.
Secondly, protecting data with trusted security packages that have been tested and accredited by independent authorities will assist consumers in increasing security measures and taking advantage of such techniques, as well as guarding against cyber threats. Such measures as internet firewalls and total computer security software will help users and provide peace of mind.
Lastly, physically taking note of all important details and making sure that passwords, banks details and other such information is concealed in private is a step that should be taken by all users. This will ensure that cyber attackers will have no access to such records, will allow consumers to have private access to such details, and physical means are the only way to locate such information.
Therefore, consumers are encouraged to view the current trends as a warning to increase computer privacy and security, by utilizing available protection and securitizing personal and confidential information before important business or personal investments are made. These trends can be important for future computer security and privacy trends, as these measures increase in their sophistication, more consumers will become comfortable in using such measures daily. Both now and in the future, it will be more important for consumers to privatize and securitize their confidential data, while using the trends to improve technological advances.
In summary, the current trend of computer privacy and security has led to increasing availability and convenience for personal and business transactions to take place. However, many cyber attackers have been able to take advantage of this trend for fraudulent purposes. It can be foreseen that these individuals will increase their illegal activity in the future. Therefore, consumers and business are urged to privatize and securitize their important data for future improvements in the area of computer privacy and security.
Abel, V. (2011). Survey of Current and Future Trends in Security in Wireless Networks. International Journal of Scientific and Engineering Research, 2(4), 1-6.
Aycock, J. (2012). The Future of Computer and Internet Security. Journal of Military and Strategic Studies, 14(2), 1-18.
Camastra, F., Ciaramella, A., and Staiana, A. (2011). Machine Learning and Soft Computing for ICT Security: An Overview of Current Trends. Journal of Ambient Intelligence and Humanizing Computing, 4(2), 235-247.
Liang, H. and Xue, Y. (2010). Understanding Security Behaviors in Personal Computer Usage. Journal of the Association for Information Systems, 11(7), 394-413.