CS492/692 - Winter 2014- Assignment 4

A New Age of Computer Security: Responsibilities and Solutions


Today's society has increasingly embraced the use of mobile devices for work and for recreation. Increasingly as well, the value of information that is pushed along these wireless connections has attracted the attention of foreign adversaries and in turn, of our own governments, in an effort to identify threats to our security. We are entering an age where what is required to keep our private information secure is an ongoing challenge. This leads as well to open questions about how governments should be able to operate and about what can ultimately lead to the protection that is desired.

For this assignment you will work in groups of 4 (set by the instructor and TAs, in an effort to balance the skill of the teams). You are asked to explore the following related subtopics: i) a description of the current infrastructure for computerized information: where is information being stored, on what devices and with what technology ii) a reflection on the technological challenges in keeping the above information secure iii) a reflection on the social challenges in keeping the above information secure (potential outside threats and potential actions taken by governments to ensure protection) iv) recommendations for the future, both for technological and social solutions to existing and expected future problems.

The assignment is due on Thursday March 13 at 10am. It should be on the order of 2500 words. (Some kind of introduction and conclusion should be included, in addition to the coverage of the four core subtopics listed above). Note that it should be written so that government officials and the public can understand the points that you are making.


Various social implications of computers have arisen, over time, for which solutions are then arranged, after the fact. With the evolving landscape of computer security, you will have an opportunity to think of challenges which will arise in the future and for which actions may be taken, beforehand. This topic also allows for a blend of the consideration of technological and social solutions. In addition, the topic of security and the role that governments have been playing is very topical today, with recent developments in countries such as the United States and China.

The majority of the focus for this assignment will be on open-ended thinking. For some of the background discussion, you will likely need to cite references to indicate how you are aware of current conditions and the nature of the technology. Be sure to budget ample space for the discussion of recommendations; this is the part of the project with the most latitude for original thought.