A Technical Look at 2017: A Year in Review

January 22nd, 2018 by admin

2017 has been an exciting and astonishing year for technology around the world. The internet of things took major leaps and showed some of the drawbacks that come from connecting many new kinds of everyday items to the web. Artificial intelligence facial recognition software has been utilized to apprehend suspects by law enforcement in China, displaying how powerful the technology can be, and simultaneously sparking new questions about AI and technological ethics. Ransomware and security breaches hit us with more destructive force than ever before. Mobile phone use around the globe had a monumental surge, and with it came an increased amount of mobile malware, and need for mobile security measures. Social media use continued the slow, but steady course of global saturation it’s been on for the last few years, with a notable trend towards mobile users in this past year. Social engineering, largely through social media, is still the leading method of cyber attackers. All in all, it was an incredible year with some frightening moments that we need to be watchful of moving forward. Here’s a quick look at some of the biggest technical trends and events of 2017:

Cyber Attacks:

WannaCry ransomware affected more than 300,000 computers across 150 countries, including computers being used in hospitals, police departments and other potentially life or death services. Equifax security breach left 143,000,000 records potentially compromised, including social security numbers, names, driver’s license numbers and more.

Facial Recognition AI:

China has more than 170 million surveillance cameras, and was able to find a BBC reporter who was testing the system, in just 7 minutes. Facial recognition software used by Chinese government, as well as many companies for recreation/security throughout the world, have reached accuracies of 99.50% and better. The advantages and disadvantages of facial recognition as a primary method for authentication are hotly debated. The market value increases from 3.35 billion in 2016 to 4.05 billion in 2017. Experts predict continued growth of the industry to ~8 billion by 2022. Predictions vary by ± 1 billion.

The Internet of Things:

The number of large scale IoT projects doubled in the year 2017. Large scale projects being defined as businesses that have more than 50,000 IoT devices connected to the web. Exact number of devices connected this year have not been surveyed by any major sources yet, but statistics and analysis of predictions from last year suggest the number of IoT devices connected to the web is almost certainly more than 8 billion today. This means there are more connected devices than people on the earth. Smart devices being hacked in botnet attacks became increasingly common as the industry grows, making the need for secure infrastructure that connects these devices clear.

Mobile:

Unique mobile users worldwide increased from ~3.5 billion to more than 5 billion. Number of mobile threats detected by Kapersky Labs is typically about 1.3 million per quarter but the last reported quarter (Q3) shows 1.6 million mobile threats detected, with a particularly large increase in banking trojans. The majority of mobile threats are not detected by Kapersky Labs, this is only to show a troubling increase in mobile threats . This particular quarter may be an outlier, but they have not yet reported on Q4.

Malware:

Total number of malware threats increased from just under 600 million, to more than 700 million at the end of the year. Total new malware for the 2017 year is about 120 million. Down from the ~140 million new malware in the 2016 year.

Social Media:

Total active social media users increased from 2.3 billion to 2.8 billion. Active mobile social media users increased from 2 billion to 2.55 billion.   Kender Ostlund

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