What could the future hold for information security?

In the UK alone, there are approximately 50 million cyber attacks every year. Although many of these will be fairly minor in nature, the recent hack of Talk Talk has demonstrated that they can often be extremely serious, not only for the organizations on the receiving end of the hacking, but also for their customers, whose personal data is often breached, stolen, sold and otherwise abused.

As so many cyber security attacks are currently taking place, it is even more important than ever for those involved in the industry to look for new and improved forms of information security, which will make it much more difficult for cyber criminals to gain access to the networks of organizations holding sensitive data.

There have, in the last few years, already been many improvements to information security, but there is still much to be done, and there are a number of new measures that are set to represent the future of information security. Let’s take a look at a few of them:

Fingerprint recognition

If you have a recent smartphone, you may already be using fingerprint recognition to gain access to your device without the need to type in a password every time you unlock your phone. This is an exciting piece of technology and a very secure process, since no two people share a fingerprint.

In all likelihood, the years to come will see organizations increasingly moving towards fingerprint recognition, and not just for smartphones; we are likely to see more and more organisations requesting that we scan our fingerprints before we are able to access our online accounts and the data they hold.

Iris recognition

Another body-based form of secure information technology that we are sure to see more of in the future is that of the iris scan. Iris recognition technology requires us to scan our eyes before we can gain access to data.

This, like fingerprint recognition, cannot obviously be faked or easily manipulated. People can expect to see iris recognition scans being used to prevent everything from credit card fraud to signature verification in the future, making life much easier for us all when using a number of applications both online and offline.

Data sharing

In future, we are likely to see an increase in data sharing between the private sector and government.

While many people will express discomfort at the toing and froing of data between organizations, the idea is that it will ensure that more parties are aware of critical threats, and thus better prepared to deal with the latest threats to information security in whatever forms they may come.

Network ‘booby traps’

Another method to weed out cyber attacks is to attempt to outwit those responsible for them, and catching hackers in the act of infiltrating a network is set to become a big deal in 2016 and beyond.

Many information security experts are now creating deceptive network technology that can be used to trick hackers, so that companies can be alerted to their activities and waste their time by letting them gain access to fake networks. These ‘booby traps’ will basically take the intruder round in circles, buying time for network experts to sort out the problem and perhaps take action against the hacker, all without risking sensitive data.

Self-destructing computer chips

One of the most radical developments we may see in the coming years is the self-destructing computer chip. These can be remotely activated to self-destruct, which means that they can be used in sensitive environments, such as the battlefield, and then instantly turned to dust to prevent theft of data once they are no longer needed. The company behind these innovative computer chips is PARC, so keep your eyes and ears open for developments in this field.

Encrypting everything

One of the things that were highlighted by many of the cyber security attacks in 2015, including the Ashley Madison episode, was the failure of so many large organizations to encrypt their most sensitive data, including the personal data of their customers.

As a result, one of the things we are likely to see in the future is a move to increase encryption so that everything that can be encrypted is encrypted. This should really have happened already by now; it’s a simple measure that makes it much more difficult for hackers to access information, even if they do manage to breach a network.

Tokens

With passwords widely thought of in the industry as not providing adequate security, we may begin to see them replaced or complemented by tokens. These are pieces of data that are unique and enable individuals to access a particular website or system. Although passwords may still be used in conjunction with tokens, they make accessing sites a lot more secure than they would have been previously.

Heart rate monitors

Tying in with the body-oriented techniques of fingerprint and iris scanning, wristbands that monitor heart rate could be used very effectively when it comes to security, because they are able to measure the unique rhythm of an individual’s heart. This fits in with the approach of using individual aspects of a person to thwart hackers and making data retrieval more secure than ever.

Increased data analysis

It’s expected that data analysts will, in the future, collect and monitor more data, of more kinds than ever, so that they are able to detect more advanced threats in bigger volumes than ever before.

When it comes to the future of information security, the measures listed above are just the tip of the iceberg. The world of information security moves very rapidly and new technologies are being invented all the time, so it’s impossible to say with any degree of certainty how we will be keeping our data secure in the future. Indeed, it may be the case that even seemingly foolproof techniques like fingerprint recognition need to constantly revised to keep them robust.

What is certain, however, is that organizations will need to keep investing in bigger and better security measures if they are to stay ahead of cyber criminals and keep the data they hold safe.

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