As more people turn to the Internet for a variety of activities from online banking and bill-paying to connecting with friends and family, cyber security programs must evolve to keep pace with the increased demand for online services. Gone are the days where people connected to online activities through a desktop computer. Instead people connect to these and other online activities using wireless access capabilities on tablets, laptops, and smartphones. This increase in consumer demand for online-based services and activities has, inevitably, increased the exposure of confidential, sensitive, and personally identifying data to breaches and theft.
Data breaches and theft of protected information is not a localized or restricted occurrence. During the holiday season in 2013, big-box retailer Target was the victim of data theft that potentially compromised millions of credit and debit card consumer accounts. Despite their use of cyber security programs such as encryption of valuable information and multi-layer security protocols, unwelcome intruders still managed to breach Target’s secure system. This type of data theft occurs on a global level and can affect any business, big or small, in any industry.
During the coming year, cyber security programs will most likely see advances in the technology used to encrypt and protect data. Developers and companies that offer security systems must make strides to stay ahead of the hackers and data thieves that attempt to intrude upon secure computing systems and networks, which is often a difficult task. The creation of more technologically savvy and complex data security systems is expected for 2014, as a potentially more secure barrier against network attacks and attempted breaches.
One area where developers of cyber security systems are expected to ramp up their efforts to create and maintain more secure programs is in the mobile sector. Smartphones are becoming less expensive and more companies are developing a variety of products which put Internet-enabled mobile devices into the hands of more people. Nearly everyone who owns a smartphone uses the Internet for some type of confidential data transaction, whether it is online banking, providing personal data in online enrollment forms, or making online purchases using credit or debit cards. The supply of secure systems for online transactions must keep up with the demand for making those transactions or there could be potentially disastrous consequences for numerous companies who provide Internet-based activities and applications.
Cyber security programs should also see more activity in the area of providing protection for outdated or technologically “obsolete” software, platforms, and operating systems. While some programs like certain versions of Java or Windows XP are no longer supported by their makers, countless consumers are still using them as part of their daily computing activities. Lack of support for these programs means that security updates are no longer developed or implemented, leaving unsupported programs vulnerable to attacks by intruders.
While there may be many changes to the landscape of cyber security programs in 2014, it will likely fall short of the mark when it comes to creating and implementing a system that is unable to be breached. Hackers and data thieves are often just as technologically advanced as those who are attempting to thwart their efforts to cause chaos and destruction which means that the field of cyber security will likely always be played upon a constantly changing battlefield in a never-ending war.
A degree in Computer Science from P.I.T. can be a great start for you if the field of cyber security interests you. Click here for more information about P.I.T.’s Computer Science program.