Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Protecting Your Cyber Identity

My name is Tommy Williams, and I am a computer science major. In the past few years computer security has caught my attention and I am excited to present how the increasing communication in this Digital Age necessitates an added level of security by everyone.

Since the beginning of time, humankind has been obsessed with security.

In history books and religious texts we read about peoples who felt it imperative to put up fortify the things they cared about most. (Alma Chapter 50 in the Book of Mormon for example)

Security used to be as simple as having a guard watching security cameras, or a watchman in a watchtower. But we are increasingly relying on technology to do these jobs for us.

One of the main problems with security is that it is impossible to completely protect ALL of your stuff. For example, if a robber wants to get in to your house and steal something, he can. But if you lock your doors and windows, and install a security system he is more likely to pick a different house.

Sometimes when people think of Computer Security, they think that they have to completely estrange themselves from the world and lock away every single piece of data that ever hits their processor. This really isn't the case. If people would do a few small things (comparable to locking the doors and windows of your house) they would be fine more than 90% of the time. It's easy to get into the mindset that if you can't hide everything, you might as well hide nothing. That is most definitely not true.

In a TED Talk by Chris Domas, we learn that many huge corporations have not done these small things (such as encrypting their servers) and their data is basically just sitting there waiting for someone to take it. He also spoke about how hard deciphering computer code can be, and how hackers will generally go for the easier targets.

At some point, somebody decided that we should have rights to our ideas. This has grown to the point where people believe that they should have exclusive rights to everything they have ever said or done.

This caused controversy when the good of the general public becomes threatened by the "intellectual property" of an individual. Where is the line between maintaining our digital privacy and contributing wholeheartedly to the communities that we belong to?

One of the strangest occurrences in the last few years has been the rise of Virtual Identities. With Gamertags, Logins, TFA (Two-Factor-Authentication), OTP (One Time Passwords), IOT (Internet of Things) and more there seems to be no end in sight to the growth of virtual identity.

As in the opening scene of Mulan, we have a need to send information quickly to many people. Fortunately, we can do that with just clicking a few buttons, but how to we verify that we're actually giving our credit card info to the person we really thing we're communicating with?

The solution is digital certificates. These certificates prove the identity of another party. When used and analyzed correctly, these certificates can tell you essentially everything you need to do to lock your doors, and keep your windows shut (figuratively speaking).

1 comment:

  1. Interesting topic, and very timely; however, I think there needs to be more connection to you claim. This "presentation" frames the problem very well and it flows, and then it seems to jump to "digital certificates." There is a lack of connection to what that is and how that will actually help me. I realize that there is a time constraint here, but that might need some work.

    Otherwise, I love your graphics, they complement your ideas very well. And the topic is a relevant and important one.