As the owner of a multi-award winning small business (mehtafor.com) specializing in creating SEO-rich content for clients ranging from startups to Fortune 500 enterprises, digital security is at the heart of many of my clients’ worries. As of 2016, there are more North Americans using mobile devices than laptops or desktops for absolutely everything from online shopping to paying bills and posting on social media. This makes mobile readiness and responsive design more critical than ever—particularly for businesses that are responsible for their customer’s sensitive data. Financial institutions and healthcare providers are especially concerned about the future of internet security.
The good news is that many leading technology experts are already promoting best practices for internet security. Opting for multiple authentication is critical, but how realistic is it when simply getting internet users to complicate and change their passwords is a challenge? Using very common passwords is a problem that still exists, and simply changing passwords on a regular basis while making sure those passwords are complex could have prevented countless security breaches and hacks.
There’s a big difference in where internet security could be in five years and where it likely will be.
The Full Potential
If every website owner and manager followed recommended best practices, the state of internet security could wildly improve by 2022.This includes using (and updating for fixes/patches) antivirus software, blocking malware and spyware with top of the line software, enabling UAC (user access control), enabling and configuring firewalls, using secure passwords and changing them frequently, only trusting sites with SLSS certification, and choosing multi-factor authentication.
However, the odds of everyone jumping on board with these best practices are slim to none. Humans are wired to choose the path of least resistance, especially in an industry like internet security where many feel intimidated or overwhelmed.
It’s unlikely that by 2022 every site owner and manager will be following every single best practice for internet security. However, don’t overlook the propensity of people—especially younger generations—to embrace technology with an inherent “cool factor” like eye vein verification or thumbprint authentication. In fact, there’s already a smattering of smart devices and apps allowing for fingerprint authentication.
However, multi-factor authentication doesn’t always automatically mean “safer.” In fact, a 2015 Forbes columnist warned of the dangers of fingerprint authentication, following up with a later column showcasing how hackers took advantage of a technology that was meant to improve safety.
Generally, multi-factor authentication will increase security, but only if the technology used is reliable and secure. So, where will we be in five years? Likely in a very similar situation as now. As security technology advances, so does the savviness of cyber criminals. It’s akin to antibiotics. The stronger the antibiotics (ahem, technology), the stronger the attacker’s strategies and resistance becomes.
According to Symantec’s statistics, hacking strategies continue to increase every year (ransomware went up 35 percent in 2015) while reports of such attacks are going down (it’s estimated that breaches unreported jumped up 85 percent from 2014 to 2015).
We likely won’t be making huge strides in five years in terms of adoption of internet security adoption. However, with a bevy of startups prioritizing digital security, technology will be dramatically advanced, likely with features and options we can’t fathom at the moment. The trick is getting the adoption of technology to keep pace with it.