The Rocky Mountain Information Security Conference held in Denver earlier this month featured a finger-wagging keynote address from famed software developer John McAfee, whose namesake antivirus program is now synonymous with internet security protection.
McAfee urged developers, business owners, and consumers alike not to become complacent with current security measures. “We have become lazy,” he said. “Our devices are doing the thinking. We don’t even know our friends’ phone numbers anymore. Part of me thinks this is just an evolutionary purge. People who don’t think before acting, they’ll eventually disappear.”
Though McAfee left his flagship company years ago to pursue other ventures, he maintains that information security should still be the paramount concern of software technicians everywhere. “We are teetering on an edge,” he warned, “not just as companies, not just as individuals, but as a nation and even as a world. We depend so much on our information science.”
McAfee’s keynote also addressed the increased use of mobile devices as the primary mode of connectivity, which presents new demands for the tech security industry. “Believe me, this will be the new paradigm,” he said, “… and until you are touched, you do not understand the fullness of the risk.”
The conference in Denver coincided with fresh concerns from the U.S. Federal Communications Commission and the Federal Trade Commission about smartphone security and vulnerability.
Due to a recent rise in malware attacks and phishing schemes via mobile devices, the FCC and FTC have requested information from all major cell phone service providers and device manufacturers regarding the ways security threats are managed and security updates are distributed to consumers.
Hacking plots that target particular operating systems are a concern because manufacturers like Apple or Google often must work through service carriers to transmit security updates. In fact, older devices may not be compatible with newer updates at all. While the average smartphone has a lifespan of two years, the government agencies — like John McAfee — want to ensure a safer and more secure connection for all.