COMPUTER security is a contradiction in terms. Consider the past year: cyberthieves stole $81m from the central bank of Bangladesh; the $4.8bn takeover of Yahoo by Verizon was nearly derailed by two enormous data breaches; and Russian hackers interfered in the American presidential election.
Away from the headlines, a black market in computerised extortion, hacking-for-hire and stolen digital goods is booming. The problem is about to get worse. Computers increasingly deal not just with abstract data like credit-card details and databases, but also with the real world of physical objects and vulnerable human bodies. A modern car is a computer on wheels; an aeroplane is a computer with wings.
The arrival of the “Internet of Things” will see computers baked into everything from road signs and MRI scanners to prosthetics and insulin pumps.