If you follow this website, you’ve probably learned some really cool hacking techniques, and kept up to date with some breaking news in hacking and technology. But what will the future of hacking look like? With computing, access to technology, and the very nature of the internet all changing so much, and so fast that most law enforcement agencies are years behind the most technologically-capable hackers, what could the future hold?
Despite all the best security measures, new headlines break almost monthly about another massive corporate or government-level hack. The New York Times, Amazon, social media websites, government websites and email servers… they’ve all been hacked. Cellphones, video game consoles, even cars and flip-phones can all be hacked pretty easily with enough time and the right equipment. The future of technology, as it does today, will dramatically shape the future of hacking. And if you think the hacks you can do today are amazing, then buckle up: you haven’t seen anything yet.
In a recent interview with Wired, Bill Gates admitted that if he were a teen these days, he would have skipped computing entirely and gone on to hack biology. Because of recent advances in the sciences around DNA, the basic protein language which builds all life as we know it, we’ve been able to identify causal relationships between a biological language and everything that makes up the world around us.
Imagine that you could hack your own DNA using home-brewed viral vectors. You could correct a genetic predisposition for Alzheimer’s. Alter your hair or eye color.
Even today, science and biology are being combined in ways people would never have thought possible. Some groups are using bio-printers to make synthetic replacement organic tissue for patients. Google is putting its new quantum computer to use on the hunt for a new antibiotic drug to replace the dozens which bugs have grown immune to.
That’s right, quantum computing. Long thought impossible, Google and NASA teamed up to build the world’s first quantum computer; available to do part-time work for business and governments for a paltry $10 million. But if you’re familiar with Moore’s Law, within 10 years it might be possible to get a laptop with a quantum chip. A computer capable of more complex logic and reasoning than the human brain. What could a hacker do with all that firepower? That’s a question many in-the-know have also wondered.
A.I. Today… and Tomorrow
A.I., or artificial intelligence, exists today in various forms, but you might be most familiar with it as an element of machine learning. Today in 2016, machine learning and A.I. is used to build websites without human intervention, solve small court cases, beat Jeopardy, predict the stock market… its applications are varied but practically invisible. If you’re a competent enough coder with enough tech on-hand, you might be able to code your own free website maker. In the future?
Imagine giving A.I. a novel set of problems. It could identify the most lucrative potential targets for a hack, spit out a database ordered easiest to most difficult, recommend the easiest mode of entry… and then program its own hack. It’s not outrageous to think that a sufficiently skilled hacker could use quantum computing to build an A.I. that even wisely invests what income it makes (or steals).
A Brave New World
The cycle and speed of adoption of new technology is unprecedented. Bigger, badder, more powerful machines and capabilities won’t just give existing hackers and methods more brute force; they’ll change the nature of the game. The hackers of the future will invent new ways to disrupt technology in ways we can’t predict. Gaining access to someone’s car or home security system might seem like peanuts in comparison.