I didn't used to be this paranoid. But lately, I am looking over my shoulder and beyond my desktop more. Why? Several reasons.
- My e-mail inbox is filled with viruses, spam, worms, and other effluvia, to the point of overflowing. I have written about the products that I use to combat these annoyances, and hopefully 2003 will bring continued improvements to these tools.
- My corporation now scans every inbound e-mail, rejecting many because of unfortunate combination of words or phrases that are deemed verboten. The ultimate folly of this exercise was brought home to me when I tried to send a colleague an e-mail from my personal account to his corporate account, only to have it bounced back. Granted, there are better products than what we use that have improved heuristics at catching porn and letting through legit messages. Unfortunately, our IT department doesn't use them. Maybe in 2003 that will change.
- Given the number of times my cable modem is scanned by outside parties, every home user should use a firewall on their networks these days. Too bad my cable company still continues to ignore the peril in which they place their users. They continue to either ignore home networks or else ask their customers to remove these firewalls when troubleshooting home networking problems. Maybe 2003 will bring enlightenment to the cable operators and they can finally begin to offer these products as part of their standard installation.
- Maybe 2003 will see the moment in time when a version of Windows server product will actually be more secure and less hackable than a version of Unix. I don't think so, but I can dream, can't I?
- I think 2002 was the year that VPNs became commodity products, offered on sub-$150 routers. Maybe 2003 will be the year that we all start using VPNs. Maybe it will also be the year that VPNs actually can be configured by the average person.
- This was the year that wireless networking became pervasive, and also the year that stealing wireless bandwidth became popular. Hopefully, there will be better protocols, tools and techniques to enable secure wireless networks in the future.
- My government is spending more time figuring out ways to get around individual liberties and freedoms in the name of fighting terrorism. While I don't like terrorism and terrorists as much as the next guy, I do believe our Bill of Rights entitles us to certain things. Maybe our elected officials will get more enlightened in 2003, but I don't think so.
About David Strom: David is Senior Technology Editor for VAR Business magazine where he writes feature stories and does new product research and testing.