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The Evolution of Software Attacks Report (Assessment)


Introduction

The concept of software security has existed ever since the creation of the first software systems. Nowadays, computers have firewalls, antiviruses, ID recognition protocols, and other kinds of defenses used to secure important information and data from hackers. Yet at the same time, hacking activity only grew in the past decade, going from breaking into singular computers to targeting companies, banks, and political institutions. The most well-known hacking attacks of 2016-2017 include the spread of WannaCry virus, Cloudbleed, and the famous hacking attempt on Hillary Clinton’s campaign site, which revealed a great deal of compromising information about her and the Democratic Party. The aftermath of these attacks is devastating and has exposed many vulnerabilities of the current software establishment. In the last decade, with the growing penetration of Wi-Fi and the Internet into every facet of our lives, software vulnerabilities have increased tenfold. The purpose of this paper is to analyze a prophetic article about future software trends written in 2004, and determine how accurate those predictions were.

Disappearance of Bloated Operating Systems

This prediction proved to be false. While there are significant differences between Windows XP and Windows 10, in its core the OS remained the same. Integrated software products engineered by Microsoft do not compete very well with independent program software made by different companies. The Internet Explorer never saw popularity due to being outdated compared to other browsers, and it does not look like Microsoft Edge is doing much better (Klindt, 2015). The systems are still bloated with different software made by different developers, which makes security measures harder to implement.

Evolution of Components and Objects

The prediction about programming software using “building blocks” in order to create new software proved to be true (McGraw & Hoglund, 2004). In the last decade, numerous platforms and frameworks offered plenty of software components in order to help streamline and simplify program development. As a result, many enterprise applications have proven to share the same weaknesses, making them vulnerable to a cascade failure. This was proven in 2014 by Heartbleed and Shellshock crisis. Veracode’s analysis of 2015 indicates that on average, an enterprise-specific software has up to 24 vulnerabilities in its code (Veracode, 2015).

Rise of Mobile Code

The prediction that the mobile code would eventually become the new mainstream way of coding has proven to be true (McGraw & Hoglund, 2004). Android is now one of the most used operating systems in the world. It is adapted to both mobile and non-mobile applications, such as TV sets, gaming consoles, etc (Dunn, 2016). At the same time, the vulnerabilities of mobile platforms grow. The Android security breach by a virus named Check Point highlights how vulnerable the system really is (Newman, 2017).

Normalization of Distributed Computation

The use of distributed computation is considered the norm in the majority of the companies, as most computers operate in an interconnected system (McGraw & Hoglund, 2004). However, the decentralized organization of distributed systems raises serious challenges in domains of security and trust management. Implementing a secure distributed system requires solutions that can efficiently address different security issues, which are currently being worked on and not implemented by the majority of potentially vulnerable enterprises (Newman, 2017).

Proliferation of Embedded Systems

Although the potential of using embedded system vulnerabilities has grown exponentially as smartphones now contain sensitive information of their users, the attacks on embedded systems are not yet common. There is no information about any major hacking disasters associated with these systems. However, that does not mean that the lack of security measures is unwarranted (Merkow & Raghavan, 2010).

Mass Adoption of Wireless Networks

The prediction about mass adoption of wireless networks is 100% true (McGraw & Hoglund, 2004). Nowadays, all computers, smartphones, tablets, laptops, and netbooks have access to Wi-Fi. However, the connection works both ways, meaning that it is easier for a hacker to gain access to places that would have been otherwise impenetrable. Cable connections, while less versatile, also have fewer vulnerabilities.

Change in Payment Models

The author managed to predict the use of cryptocurrencies and internet banking, which opened new avenues for potential machinations and attacks. In addition, the article predicted the rise of internet piracy and content theft, since the Internet is impossible to control or police (McGraw & Hoglund, 2004). While the mechanisms of copyright protection have improved considerably, piracy still remains one step ahead, as everything from computer games to the latest episode of Game of Thrones is illegally and freely released into the web (Newman, 2017).

Personal Predictions

Considering the development of mobile technology and integration of PDAs into every aspect of our lives, I predict that the attention of hackers would shift from personal computers towards smartphones. This trend, along with the fact that hackers would evolve their methods as well, would potentially influence the creation of jobs in cybersecurity and additions of extra security protocols into the system in order to prevent illegal monetary transactions. Direct information theft would likely evolve into information tampering, which is less traceable. In addition, hackers are likely to become bolder and more organized, as their efforts would be supported by various governments eager to engage in cybernetic warfare.

References

Dunn, J. E. (2016). Android’s 6 biggest security flaws 2016. Web.

Klindt, T. (2015). Web.

McGraw, G., & Hoglund, G. (2004). Web.

Merkow, M. S., & Raghavan, L. (2010). Secure and resilient software development. Boca Raton, FL: CRC Press.

Newman, L. H. (2017). . Web.

Veracode. (2015). Web.

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IvyPanda. 2021. "The Evolution of Software Attacks." January 4, 2021. https://ivypanda.com/essays/the-evolution-of-software-attacks/.

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IvyPanda. (2021) 'The Evolution of Software Attacks'. 4 January.

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