If there is anything that humanity has brought to Earth, it is continuous and ever-improving innovation. We have built cities from the ground up. We are on the brink of the transition into an era driven almost-entirely by technology of all kinds. As technology continues to propel forward as we search for ways to introduce more of it into our everyday lives, it is becoming increasingly clear that we are relying on digitisation more and more. As humanity begins to store more of our data and information online, the risks are becoming more evident and more common. Thankfully, there are entire teams dedicated to the cause, but even they rely on continuous technological connection. It is the ultimate paradox.
Every time it seems that technology is reaching its peak for a while, yet another innovation explodes into the scene and sends the bar soaring ever-higher once again. The future of cyber technology rests on concepts and realities such as artificial intelligence and online identity and privacy. As the bar gets higher and higher, we are continuously introduced to new and meaningful innovations that seek to improve our lives and increase efficiency and speed.
Appliances that help us in the kitchen currently, such as food processors and juicers, are likely to be replaced by fully-functioning robotic machines that cook for us and then clean up after themselves in the kitchen. Similarly, while we typically store little to no personal data or information digitally, there will come a time that practically everything about us is online. As this increased integration with real life and the digital plane evolves, there are bound to be risks, but the good news is that there are already individuals who have dedicated their professional lives to the cybersecurity and privacy control of individuals that have already begun to make that digital leap – the individuals working the front line in digital forensics.
Cybersecurity is a function that, to work entirely and to its full potential, must always be on and functioning to its full capacity. As with anything, however, this is not always the case. Human error and the question of time are consistent themes in the cyber industry (as in any industry) but the biggest difference is the increasing number of online attacks that are happening, stealing data and information and using it for anything from identity fraud to financial fraud. As we make the move to digitisation, it is not an unfair question to wonder if the convenience of making the switch outweighs the potential risk factors.
Regardless of how we each feel about the situation, the reality is that complete digitisation is inevitable. The technology is improving at an astounding rate, and sooner rather than later having our data and information will be the norm, whether we like it or not. Despite the reservations, there is a line of defence in place for systems such as these. Technology and criminal justice come together to form the basis of digital security and, subsequently, digital forensics. Individuals that work in digital forensics are charged with the responsibility to recover stolen or lost data information, to put in place protective measures, and to trace cyberattacks back to the source, effectively finding those responsible for the misuse and theft of online intellectual and personal information. It is a defence that is, frankly, absolutely necessary and not at all early – it is better to be overly prepared than caught off guard.