In the future it may be that the first decades of the Internet will be regarded as it's shake-out period if not it's dark age.


In the future it may be that the first decades of the Internet will be regarded as it's shake-out period if not it's dark age.


It's first commercializers were largely pornographers and hustlers. The explosive expansion thereafter was enabled by features promoted by corporations which touted nothing but advantages but failed to disclose known risks. The results were governments, companies and the public being victimized by an array of attacks which they didn't even know were possible. Espionage into the computers used by governments, companies and individuals has become widespread, with the victims rarely even detecting that it's occurred.   Governments, utilities and other infrastructure are succeptable to attack as their networks have become an arena for conflict. Cybercrime has become sophisticated, undertaken by criminal syndicates with vast expertise which can overcome all but the most expensive defenses. 


Eager to promise solutions, security entrepreneurs have appeared. With talent often from the ranks of the criminals themselves, they charge expensive fees and have created a world of never-ending contest. This "grand contest" pits the wits of security staff against that of their "hacker" opponents in an endless game of measure and counter-measure. This game may be enjoyable to it's participants on both sides of the safety fence, but to the public it's expensive, insecure and obnoxious.


Although simple solutions exist promoting them is not in the interest of security entrepreneurs. It's hardly appealing to security staffs to envisage a future in which their talents are no longer required. 


Nor is it appealing to corporations promoting new products based on the existing architecture. Corporations have been inclined to downplay known risks while varnishing new services. The current enthusiasm for "the cloud" may be a case in point.


The current enthusiasm for "the cloud" may be a case in point. Few things imagined could be as benign as a puffy singular cloud, floating, distant and detached. However the actual services offered by corporations have little to do with this image, invoked by a cynically contrived term, "the cloud."


The public is waking up to the fact that there is no single "cloud." All there really is, however, is a gaggle of corporations selling their individual network's memories for others to use. There is nothing singular about it, nothing benign about it, and little particularly safe about it. It's just theirs, instead of yours, and they want you to pay for it. 


In the future the public may replace the use of security services merely by following safe practices which make it impossible for their computers to be hacked. This can be facilitated by using new hardware devices which allow for computers to make use of the Internet although they are not directly connected to it. Also new devices can be used to bypass the Internet altogether for functions which have been mistakenly adopted for Internet use. New devices will allow such networks as telephone lines to replace the Internet for data transmissions. 


Eventually the Internet will become a system in which threats have been eliminated. The open architecture upon which hacking and penetration depends will be reformed. Cyber-crime, cyber-warfare, viruses and espionage may become as distant and archaic a set of maladies as smallpox and polio have come to be.

"We can't keep the hackers out"


"In our recent survey of Fortune 500 CEOs, 10% of respondents called cybersecurity their "single biggest challenge," with another 56% saying it was one of their "top three or four challenges."  And yet while companies now recognize the need to protect their computer systems, many still struggle with how to accomplish it.   Some are looking for a silver bullet - the ultimate firewall, antivirus software, or "black box” solution - even though experts agree that search is futile."


"Others say they find it hard to justify spending hundreds of millions of dollars to protect against a risk that no one has been able to quantify and that doesn't appear on their balance sheet."


"Whatever rationalizations companies may offer, however, attacks against Sony, Anthem, J.P. Morgan, Target, and most recently the government's Office of Personnel Management should by now have convinced us all that the cyber-threat is an existential one, and it isn’t going away."


"We can't keep the hackers out. What we must do is a better job following the basic hygiene that makes it harder for them to get in - and installing systems and procedures to quickly  detect and respond to their incursions."


"It may also be time to explore alternatives to the open architecture of the Internet for our most sensitive communications."


Allan Murry, Editor​