New technologies are continuously changing the landscape of network security. One of the best examples of this is the Internet of Things. A device, car, or building that is embedded with software, sensors, actuators, and some type of network connection is considered to contain the Internet of Things.
Objects with the Internet of Things collect and share data across the Web. Smart energy management systems have fully embraced this technology with great success. The Internet of Things has some amazing benefits, but also has some major and potentially devastating drawbacks. In 2014 two cyber security researchers demonstrated that it was possible to hack into a Jeep Cherokee and disable its brakes and transmission. This was done remotely using a vulnerability found in the Internet of Things.
Medical devices have also been subject to attacks. Some people now disable the Wi-Fi capability on their pacemaker, out of a real fear that a hacker could send a fatal electric shock through the device itself. Another interesting technology that is growing is called Software-defined networks (SDN). SDN allows network admins to manage network services through the abstraction of lower-level functionality. SDN architectures separate network control and forwarding functions, enabling network control to become directly programmable and the underlying infrastructure to be abstracted from applications and network services. This allows for much greater flexibility and scalability when working with modern computing environments.
The rise of smartphones, cloud services, and mobile data content has led to a change in how network architecture and infrastructure are implemented. Although these technologies are helping set new standards in efficiency and capacity, they come with many vulnerabilities that can cause great harm to individuals and businesses. That is why it is important for network security professionals to stay current on new technologies and practices to best protect their networks.