It used to be that if you wanted to do something on the computer, you’d boot up your PC or Mac and open a piece of installed software to go about your business.
Those were the simple times.
Now though, with the explosion of Internet-connected smartphones and software-as-a-service, the hardware-based operating system and all the protections that come with it have gone out the door. Firewalls, antivirus software, and heavily secured system coding have all been rendered useless as applications delivered through the Web to your mobile device or computer have become the new operating systems. In the past six months, we have seen literally hundreds of breaches affecting hundred of millions of consumers. From your local bank to three-letter government agencies, all have had Web-facing presences that were epically breached.
This shift in computing and the consumption of software has also shifted the perceptions of who and how online security is to be handled. Where before, your safety was assumed to be coming from the operating system and a handful of third-party AV solutions, now it is up to the expert coding of those writing the applications we dutifully use. As these applications have become increasingly powerful and linked to all of our devices, our personal data has moved to the Internet with them, meaning, theoretically, that anyone with Internet access could potentially steal that information.
The mobile paradigm brings a new problem of insecurity as well, as not only is your data accessible via the Internet on your device, but you can physically lose a cell phone much more easily than a computer. So now your data can be either digitally or physically stolen and it’s up to developers to make sure that any digital information remains safe from being compromised.
The rise of the application as the de facto way to function today means that there is a huge burden placed on the companies who normally just provided operating systems.