Unless you have been living under a truly analogue-shaped rock of late, you will know that Apple recently launched its new iPhone 5S. You know the situation by now: Apple worshippers queuing outside stores around the globe, desperate to get their hands on the latest must-have device.
Some would argue that the cult of Apple should lead to being aware of false Gods – a case of the iPhone being bigger than Jesus, and indeed The Beatles. What Apple devotees should in fact be aware of are hackers ready to attack the latest consumer device they adore.
Last week, German hackers Chaos Computer Club claimed to have used biometrics to take a photo of a fingerprint and reuse it to unlock the iPhone. This was a few days after it’s launch. These hackers don’t hang around, do they?
What I found alarming in this situation were two things. Firstly, the speed at which these alleged hackers have cracked a facet of security of the very latest consumer device. Secondly, how biometric technology – with uses in medical and defence fields – was rendered unsafe.
In the tech word, the good (cyber security experts) versus the bad (hackers) fight will continue indefinitely. Every time a newer, more desirable device comes onto the market, groups of cyber criminals lick their lips in anticipation that they will be able to hack it first. Flipping the coin, on a more positive note, the cyber security industry’s profile has never been higher, leading to the brightest minds choosing a career battling so called hacktivists.
There are many encouraging cyber security programmes being supported by major Western governments – an issue of crime fighting not taken as seriously say five to ten years ago. We now are seeing cyber security challenges that offer prizes and incentives to student to become the good guys and girls on the right side of the law.
We’re finally seeing schools starting to look at their curriculums, with an onus on making computing more now and less then. Trends and market issues are slowly being addressed, allowing tomorrow’s graduates to be ready to hit the job market with the relevant skills.
Regarding the job market, cyber security professionals are very much in demand. I bang the very battered drum regarding the IT skills shortage often, but this is a real positive if you’re about to enter the job market, or harbour desire to go into computing as a career.
Additionally, I’m confident that the mass media will start to commission more dramas about cyber crime. Hollywood likes to pick up and follow societal issues. Just cast your mind back to Cold War inspired movies of the 1980s, such as War Games (younger readers, please visit Internet Movie Database for enlightenment!).
Any media exposure about cyber crime, even if it’s sensational, will raise awareness of this pressing problem. I think this is a good thing. Personally speaking, I dream of a society where the cyber security professional could be in the same league as a James Bond figure. Hmm. A new Bond film solely about cyber security; I wonder if I should put myself forward as 007!