Long Term

It’s impossible to fully solve cybersecurity issues, there exist only stronger remedies against more sophisticated attacks. In the short term, secure connections to web servers have seen a dramatic rise while old technologies are gradually falling out of use. In the long term, an advanced antivirus powered by the user’s habits could potentially detect more sophisticated intrusions.

In the past website connections were unencrypted and very easy to intercept. Secured connections, called HTTPS, were added on top of this insecure protocol only to secure login screens and transactions. However, experts figured out that this made it incredibly easy to ‘hijack’ session information after the HTTPS part of the website and assume the identity of users on the same network. Security experts then urged every website to use HTTPS for every request, but getting the required certificates was very expensive. Also, until recently it was computationally expensive to encrypt every page, but now there can be performance increases when using HTTPS. The Let’s Encrypt project acted to change the low adoption of HTTPS and now provides free certificates with certain restrictions. This allows smaller companies to fully encrypt their websites free of charge. However, this also allows phishing websites to encrypt their pages to look more like the original. The adoption of HTTPS has skyrocketed in recent years, Google’s traffic has gone from around 50% encrypted in 2014 to 90% encrypted in 2019 .

Certain technologies can be dangerous to user’s cybersecurity. These applications have known security bugs and receive less support than the technologies that supersede them. Microsoft has stopped development on their Internet Explorer browser and now is supporting the Edge browser, based on chromium. Chromium is well maintained and one of the major web engines. However, Internet Explorer 10 (IE10) still has some use among home users and uses an older insecure engine. IE10 is insecure enough that a Microsoft security chief recommended it be used as a “compatibility solution” and not a web browser . On January 31, 2020 IE10 will reach its end of life and be officially unsupported, hopefully reducing its use as a primary browser .

Farther in the future cybersecurity defence could be somewhat automated using an advanced antivirus. Context-aware behavioral analytics is a technology that profiles a user’s habits, including mouse movement speed and file movements which allows it to detect suspicious activity . By understanding the user instead of virus patterns, this technology could be used to detect never before seen viruses and alert the user about suspicious activity. As with all security solutions, this would not detect 100% of intrusions but it would increase the security and awareness of the everyday user.