The RSA Conference takes place annually in San Francisco, California. At that conference, attendees discuss everything related to cryptography and information security.
This year seemed to be a particularly frightening conference. People who attended the conference claim to be more scared about future security than ever before.
One article published on the event was titled “Feeling Safe? Try Attending Internet Security Conference.”
Another was called “Why Internet Security Conferences Are the Scariest Events to Attend.”
So what made this year’s iteration of the RSA Conference in San Francisco so frightening? Here are some of the terrifying things attendees learned about the future of security:
One Expert Says Bad Guys Frequently Outmaneuver Top Security Professionals
Apparently, one expert guest speaker was not too fond of today’s top cyber security professionals. He said that bad guys frequently outmaneuver those charged with keeping the wired world safe.
Over the past year, we’ve seen major corporations like Target, Sony Pictures, and Home Depot fall victim to hacking attacks. These attacks have led to millions of customer records being stolen. Despite claims from company CEOs that the company is doing everything it can to prevent such attacks, it seems like they actually have no idea what they’re doing.
Experts at the RSA Conference warned consumers to expert more malicious attacks against large corporations in the future.
Phishing Still Works Today
Phishing had its heyday in the 1990s and early 2000s. Nigerian princes would email you. Banks would send out false information request forms. And websites would ask you to confirm your password.
But according to security experts at the RSA Conference, phishing is still working as well as ever today. Yes, internet users have become smarter – but phishing scammers have also become better.
Today’s phishing attacks can be launched over websites, emails and text messages. Hackers can make it look like the attack is coming from a trusted friend or contact.
Phishing attacks are particularly common for hackers working on behalf of foreign governments and criminal groups. A good phishing attack exploits the weakest link in the chain of PC security: your own intelligence.
Let’s say you’re at work and one of your trusted coworkers sends a file attachment talking about the monthly sales reports. If you download that PDF report, your computer might instantly be infected. According to one study from Verizon, 1 in 5 phishing emails are read by their targets and 1 in 10 are opened.
Phishing attacks are now frequently targeted at middle management in companies. Middle managers are low enough to let their guards down but high enough to have access to secure company networks.
More Connected Devices Means Easier Targets
We connect more devices together than ever before. Your phone knows where you live. You control your thermostat from your tablet. Your web browser carries bookmarks and settings from your laptop to your smartphone to your tablet.
This connectivity has made our lives more convenient. But more connected devices mean easier targets.
At the RSA Conference, experts warned that hackers could increasingly start targeting home appliances, which are becoming more connected than ever before. There are smart ovens, smart dishwashers, and smart microwaves.
Attacks against these appliances have been rare so far. But that’s only because most people don’t own smart appliances as of yet.
As smart appliances become more and more popular, we can expect more attacks against not only our computers – but our entire homes.
RSA President Amit Yoran Claims “Adversaries are outmaneuvering this industry”
Perhaps the best quote from the recent RSA Conference came from RSA President Amit Yoran. In a keynote speech, Amit said “The adversaries are outmaneuvering this industry.”
Will the industry be able to fight back? Will the IT departments at Walmart be able to fight back against foreign hackers earning millions of dollars per year? I don’t know – but I don’t like our chances.