The Week In Review : 24th February

It’s not smartphones. It’s not the much-discussed internet of things (IoT) either. It certainly isn’t wearables, or drones…

…according to Fortune magazine who were reporting on the recent RSA Conference in San Francisco, the biggest story in technology right now is cyber security.

This annual cryptography and information security-related conference has been running for over 25 years however in recent years it has gained greater and greater prominence in the IT calendar due to the continuing rise of cyber-crime and solutions needed to counter this threat.

As Fortune point out there are dozens of new start-ups, jockeying for position alongside the more established security players, as they all scramble to offer solutions to plugging the holes in software, hardware and the leaky internet. The go as far as to call the current climate ‘peak cyber’.

I’ve always been a fan of technology conferences, having attended too many to mention in my time. The reason for this is they do give a very good snapshot on the health of that sector and where it is headed soon.

We should be buoyed by this increasing interest and pursuit of cyber security solutions, as in my opinion it means that a greater variety of security products and services will be heading into the market soon.

Another market that is claiming headlines is that of connected cars. Even the most basic of new cars now will allow you to connect your smartphone to it enabling hands free calls, access to contacts and other data. At the RSA Conference IBM researcher Charles Henderson said that despite selling a car years ago he still knew where it was because there was no process in place to unhook connected-car apps from former owners.

The BBC reported on this speech and quoted Mr Henderson as saying, “Although there were processes in place to make sure all the keys to a car were handed over, manufacturers and car dealers had no way to disconnect car apps, he said.”

This may not be limited to cars as research undertaken by IBM suggested that many more “smart” devices remained linked to old owners when they were sold on. Perhaps this is yet another market opportunity? Data cleansing services for hard drives have been long established, can they extend to any device that now holds data? With more and more devices entering all our lives this could be a highly valuable future service for the preservation of privacy.

Passwords to many have always been a necessary evil. Despite the repeated advice on password policy, such as to have differing passwords for each service used and to ensure that those passwords are ‘strong’ users still resent them. The head of GCHQ’s new National Cyber Security Centre, Ciaran Martin, said even his best spooks would not be able to remember all the different passwords current guidelines require.

According to an article published by The Independent current public guidelines on passwords require average Britons to memorise the equivalent of a 600-digit number every month. Mr Martin is calling for new simpler advice to help people manage security, such as the use of password management technologies…

…I think those were discussed and were on show at the RSA conference a few years ago!

For links to all these stories and more, or to contribute with some comments join us by searching for the National Cyber Skills Centre on our social channels of FaceBook, LinkedIn and Twitter, or just click the relevant links from our website.

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