Preparing for tomorrow’s Internet

October 23, 2017

In early October, Blade Runner 2049 was released to wide critical praise. The sequel to the 1982 sci-fi masterpiece of the same name includes many elements of its predecessor — humanlike androids, holograms, and flying cars. The film offers a distinctively dystopian view of our future, one in which the tech that we thought would prove helpful is instead menacing and ominous.

Thankfully, the future that is portrayed in the Blade Runner saga is based more on shock value than reality; after all, it is just a movie. We should expect more from our technology and its innovators. And if the advances of the past 20 years portend the tech leaps of our near future, we really do have much to look forward to.

As we continue to explore cyberissues in celebration of International Cyber Security Awareness Month, we discuss a few of the most promising Internet advances shaping our world — and add some thoughts on how we can prepare for the realities of tomorrow.

Machine learning

One of the less-understood tech buzzwords of today is machine learning. At its core, machine learning is a product of artificial intelligence technology that enables computers to learn and adapt based on data and feedback. Machine learning is also one of the fundamental elements of Kaspersky Lab’s antivirus detection. We call our approach HuMachine: By combining big data, machine learning, and the expertise of our research analysts, Kaspersky Lab has created more refined — and more comprehensive — threat detection protocols and monitoring systems.

Machine learning is special because it enables computers to better predict and plan for problems by providing smarter, more comprehensive solutions, and by continuing to evolve and perfect these solutions. Consider the Dyn DDoS attack from last year, which crippled the Internet for several hours. Machine learning at Dyn severely diminished the scope of the attack because Dyn’s algorithms improved — second by second — the company’s mitigation of the Mirai attack.

The more the network was attacked with slave IoT devices, the better the network became at identifying and deflecting those attacks. Kaspersky Lab’s HuMachine and malware detection tools work in a similar way. They scan files and compare the files to known malware, virus, and other threat code. We identify and sort the better part of malicious code in this way, and our ML algorithms get smarter every day.

Internet of Things

The Internet of things (IoT) is already a thriving tech niche, but soon enough, Internet-connected devices will play a central role in all of our lives. Already, many devices we use daily are connected to the Internet and, in turn, connected to us through our personal devices. By its very interconnectedness, the IoT is meant to be a tool that will help us become more efficient, safe, and secure.

But these devices also have the power to make us less secure. The IoT brings with it myriad privacy issues, and new forms of attack are using IoT devices for nefarious purposes (again, the Dyn attack is perhaps the best known but by no means the only example). In fact, our recent research shows that DDoS attacks are having a larger impact on more businesses than ever before.

Securing and maintaining and improving the Internet performance of IoT devices will be a big challenge of our time. How we approach this challenge will have a decided impact on the role IoT ultimately plays in our lives.

Driverless cars

The driverless car sits at the nexus of the IoT revolution, the expansion of Internet performance, and the availability and maturation of machine learning. Perfecting the autonomous vehicle may be the most audacious tech challenge of our time, marrying many of our most sophisticated technologies to form a new solution for human time-savings, transportation, and safety.

But how safe are driverless cars, and when will they become mainstream? We have actually explored these issues previously — here and here — and we wrote about several new autonomous vehicles at the recent Frankfurt Motor Show.

Safety will represent the biggest litmus test for the driverless cars of the (near) future. How do we keep drivers and passengers safe, how do we reconcile the moral problems associated with accidents of nature and man, and how do we prevent bad actors from exploiting security weaknesses that might compromise our “autonomous” vehicles? These will be some of the most vexing challenges of our time.

Other amazing predictions

As you may know, Kaspersky Lab recently celebrated its 20th anniversary. As part of our commemoration, we developed a new project called Earth 2050, a multimedia project where we outline the predictions of both well-known futurologists and Kaspersky researchers. The site already contains dozens of predictions about how tech will continue to change our lives in the next 30 years. View the project here and add feedback!

What are your predictions for how tech will impact our lives moving ahead? And how can we all work together to prepare for a more connected future?