30 years of the internet: How the World Wide Web is becoming dangerous territory

The internet plays a dominant and powerful role in our lives, but it's also becoming extremely dangerous. We asked tech experts about the web threats to expect over the coming years.

Human civilisation has witnessed a plethora of revolutions over the centuries, whether it was the printing press of the 1600s or rise of industrial-scale manufacturing in the 1800s. In the 21st century, we live in an era dominated by the internet.

Whether it's at home or in the workplace, internet technologies play a crucial role in our everyday lives. The web not only puts masses of information at our fingerprints, but connects us with family and friends, keeps us entertained, gives us instant access to products and services, and accelerates productivity.

However, while the internet is a powerful tool that makes our lives easier, it can also be dangerous. Tim Berners-Lee, the English engineer and computer scientist famed for inventing the world wide web, recently marked its 30th anniversary with an open letter warning that the web has "created opportunity for scammers, given a voice to those who spread hatred, and made all kinds of crime easier to commit".

According to Berners-Lee, we must build a better web that serves all of humanity before it enters "a downward plunge to a dysfunctional future". As we enter an era where everything is connected and as more complex threats emerge, this seems paramount but somewhat difficult.

 

IoT threats

For many, the next stage of internet evolution will be brought forward by the Internet of Things. Gartner predicts that there'll be 25 billion connected things in use globally by 2025, meaning more access points and weak areas for cyber criminals to exploit. Experts believe that the growth of IoT marks a serious security epidemic.

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