In this day and age, Cyberspace touches almost every part of our daily lives. There are few activities and places that we approach that are not in one way or another tied into cyberspace. On a small scale, matters such as your home, work, hospitals, schools and even a lot of restaurants are tied into cyberspace. On a much larger scale, matters such as the power grids that bring us power every day, nuclear power plants , military information and most of the intelligence the US government has ever collected are accessible in cyberspace. Knowing this information brings me to a few questions. How well is this information protected? How does this affect the average person?
This is where cyber security comes into to play. Cyber security, in a nut shell, is the attempt to stop any individual from attaining information via cyberspace that they are not supposed to have access to. Cyber security professionals’ work day after day trying to combat these threats against our information and in some cases our lives. The biggest issue with Cyber security is that it is always evolving. As soon as one issue is fixed, another individual finds a different way to exploit the codes and protocols that make up the vast entity of cyberspace. Also, the attackers can range vastly in knowledge levels; anywhere from engineers that are experts at code and how the protocols work to kids that use scripts (premade strings of code that are programmed to automatically execute a given function). These scripts are usually made by professional coders and are fairly easily accessed over the internet.
Recently it was discovered that there is a flaw in a very common internet protocol that protects your personal information when you shop online. Anyone that was ever bought anything online or that has done banking online has come in contact with this protocol. When you go to Amazon, for example, and click purchase, a little box pops up that contains a picture that represents a pad lock; this pad lock has a few meanings. One meaning is to let you know that you are now on a secure connection that jumbles your information (such as credit card info, name and address and any other information that the company needs to send you an item) so it is harder for someone that may stumble across your information to know what it says. This information is not randomly jumbled; it goes through a mathematical sequencing programming that encrypts it. The computer in which you are purchasing your order from then contacts the server and exchanges a key that will allow the server to read the encrypted information.
This entire process is known as SSL or secure socket layer. However, as secure as this may sound, the flaw in the protocol allowed anyone with a little bit of knowledge on the SSL to bypass the encryption and gain access to your information. Since the discovery of this flaw a few weeks ago, programmers have fixed the protocol that will allow it to function the way it was intended too. At this...