Apr 17, 2007
Technology Schools Columnist
Identity theft has been a major cause of alarm in the last two or three years, but as ever with information technology, new and innovative solutions are beginning to be developed to solve our problems. IBM researchers are presenting a way that you can use the internet without leaving information that can be used by identity thieves.
Technology Schools May Help Wage the War on Computer Fraud
IBM researchers have joined the army of researchers working in industry and in technology schools to find ways of doing online transactions without disclosing personal information. If this can be done in a reasonable fashion, it will be much more difficult to obtain information that can subsequently be used for fraud by unscrupulous people.
The idea behind the IBM open-source software is that users create an alternate identity that does not include information that they do not need for particular transactions. This alternative identity allows encrypted tokens to be generated from a trusted source such as a bank, which can then be used for transactions on sites such as Amazon.com or Expedia, rather than using credit card details that can then be replicated at will.
Internet security has long been a source of anxiety to computer users, and software developers work hard to make their applications as secure as possible. However independent research is needed to create industry wide standards so that different applications can communicate with each other and accept this kind of token. Technology schools may play a large part in this research, providing an industry wide view and allowing open source developments that can then be plugged into developers' software.
First Step- an Information Technology Degree
You can be a part of this drive to protect transactions and provide computer security. Studying an information technology degree at a technology school may give you the academic background you may need to be a part of this kind of research effort. It may also provide you with the skills you may need to find computer related jobs to build your career in information technology.
Gaining a computer related job may not be difficult if you are skilled in this area of Internet security. IBM is not the only company to offer new ideas in this area of information technology. Microsoft Vista offers some new ideas to help you to control information on the Internet. As technology schools come to grips with this new version of Windows, so you may be able to gain the skills you need as a part of your information technology degree.
New ideas in information technology always contain both threats and opportunities for people in computer related jobs. If you are building your career in information technology you need the best possible skills and knowledge to be able to be successful from the first. Whether you decide to work in computer security or any other area of information technology, your best first step may be to gain an information technology degree.
MIT Technology Review
About the Author
Mary Hobson is the Head of IT School at a Polytechnic in New Zealand. She also works as a freelance writer.