Telephones have come a long way in their short lives, evolving from a simple transmitter and receiver to today’s ubiquitous smartphones. But as technologies continue to consolidate and automation takes over, what are we going to do at the end of the telephone? And what are the security implications of that?
Imagine a world where phone numbers have no meaning, and we instead rely on a system resembling an Internet IP address that shifts according to location. Afterall, we’re increasingly using smartphone apps like WhatsApp, iMessage, FaceTime, Skype (and so many more!) to communicate. How often do we actually dial our friends and family to talk? Moreover, how many of us still even own landlines?!
The fact is, we, as a society, interact more and more via apps, and I predict that the end of POTS (Plain Old Telephone System) will come faster than you think. Even my ageing parents have disconnected their home phones and my 84-year-old father uses an iPhone!
So, with cybersecurity in mind, what does this new trend mean? Do we have ways to integrate our businesses into this new era? How do we keep our customers, friends and family connected, while keeping our data safe?
The reliance on chat apps is beneficial in that it helps avoid international call charges and allows us to be global citizens without boundaries imposed by phone companies. But it also opens us up to vulnerabilities, like potentially communicating and exchanging sensitive data with the wrong person(s). While two factor authentication—which is used, for example, when you log into a bank account from a public Internet device and the site confirms your identity via text or a call—works now, when phone numbers disappear, it won’t do any good.
This is where the future of innovation plays a critical role; we will need a new way to identify and connect with people beyond face recognition, fingerprints on an iPhone or a password generated by a system. For example, 5G networks allow for the design of software defined private networking and the ability to provide function virtualization. We should begin to see full security stack solutions at the endpoint of radio /5G /WiFi, without security having to live in the central office.
Look forward to the future where trust and identity are going to be better than some sort of robot speak of numbers and data on the screen.