The Changing Landscape of Computer Security and Privacy
Tamara Denning, University of Utah
We are entering an age where computer security and privacy issues impact almost every part of our lives. The US government has identified cybersecurity as “one of the most serious economic and national security challenges we face as a nation” [whitehouse.gov]. The National Academy of Engineering and the Computing Research Association have called out computer security on short lists of grand challenges. We are inundated by news of data breaches ranging from credit card and social security numbers to medical records and background checks. To further complicate matters, the landscape of technologies is always changing. Emerging technologies are increasingly interconnected, incorporate a wider variety of sensors and actuators to interface with the physical world around them, and are integrated more broadly and deeply into our lives. While these properties provide utility, they also have implications for security and privacy. New technologies facilitate novel or amplified kinds of attacks on the financial, physical, and emotional wellbeing of users and bystanders. In addition to headlines about credit card fraud, we now see headlines about the security of cars, planes, medical devices, and refrigerators. Moreover, the attacks that we are witnessing are driven by a richer tapestry of motivations: espionage, diplomacy, obsession, and revenge. Going forward, we will need to tackle these issues of computer security and privacy using a combination of technical, social, and legal methods.