Chapter 15. The Future

A common question is, “Will we ever defeat malicious mobile code?” No need to build false hope: the answer is no. As we learned in Chapter 1, malicious mobile code has been around since the beginning of modern computing, and nothing we’ve done in the past 40 years has done a thing to quell it. The number of harmful programs is growing exponentially. I personally know nationally recognized security experts who have exhaustedly left the field because few of our learned lessons have ever triggered enough real concern to fix the problem, or prevent similar attacks. All their hard work and efforts couldn’t close security vulnerabilities discovered 20 years ago, much less, stop the new attacks. So with that question out of the way, the next natural question is what will the future of malicious mobile code look like? To see the future of malicious mobile code, we need to see the future of personal computing, imagine the potential exploitations of the new paradigms, and draw conclusions. This chapter will cover those topics.

The Future of Computing

We were content to play with one-dimensional, crude graphic blocks with early computer games. In Atari’s Pong, we spent hours continuously knocking a square ball against a wall. Today, we have multiplayer, role-playing games with thousands of colors, hundreds of skill levels, and we form human teams across the Internet. The computer-generated opponent is deemed too predictable and artificial. Now we play against each other. ...

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