As time goes on, won't computers be able to automatically test for vulnerabilities to the point where they will not be prevalent any more?

What I'm essentially asking is will information security be a growing field forever or will it dwindle and die because computers could find all the vulnerabilities a program has and report them to be fixed?

An example in the field of cryptography would be the one time pad. It's not entirely practical, but still cannot be cracked. Could computer programs eventually get this level of security?

Theorem proving seems promising, but I do not want to become involved in cyber security, possibly as a career, if i would be out of a job in the future.

closed as primarily opinion-based by TildalWave, Xander, Scott Pack, Mark, AviD Jan 28 '15 at 9:31

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The issue is that cybersecurity is not limited to vulnerabilities in software, which is what you seem to be focused on. Yes, software vulnerabilities are a big part of it, but there's much, much more.

For example, take cryptography, the mathematical algorithms we depend on to secure nearly all sensitive information. In order for AI to do the work of humans, it would have to be able to find flaws in mathematical procedures, which probably means it would have to be able to write its own proofs. It would also have to write new algorithms to keep up with increasing computing power and new breakthroughs in mathematical research. No AI is even close to being able to do this. In fact, it's so far-fetched that I don't think anyone's even tried. (And if AI ever does reach this point, the death of cybersecurity will be the least of your concerns!)

Then, there's the human aspect, as schroeder mentioned. It's not something you can toss out as an "organizational problem" and just ignore. In fact, I'd say about 80% of cybersecurity is about dealing with human stupidity - not just of users, but system administrators as well. It's 2015, but the most common password is still "123456". People using the same password for everything. Website administrators not bothering to hash and salt users' passwords, or choosing weak algorithms. People not bothering to change default passwords on routers, printers, cameras, and even industrial control systems, leaving them fully exposed on the Internet just waiting to be exploited. Company networks that are not properly designed and segmented. And, of course, phishing - many huge security breaches start with simply obtaining the password of a system administrator using a well-crafted email, providing an entry point into the network. There are tons more I could list, but you get the idea. All of these are serious, and current, problems in cybersecurity, and widely exploited by hackers, yet none of them are fundamentally software flaws. To fix these, you have to either educate people, or design systems that are more idiot-proof.

And all that, of course, is assuming that AI will one day be able to fix software vulnerabilities automatically, 100% of the time - something that is far from guaranteed. If anything, people will simply start looking for flaws in the AI. After all, AI is written by humans, and it'll never be perfect. There will always be instances where the AI can be fooled.

Theorem proving seems promising, but I do not want to become involved in cyber security, possibly as a career, if i would be out of a job in the future.

This isn't really the place for career advice, but I can say with 100% certainty that cybersecurity isn't going away anytime soon. It is only going to get bigger as computer systems become even more critical than they already are, as developers write more and more flawed code, and as more and more (clueless) users get connected.


Your question assumes that "Security" is limited to technical vulnerabilities. It is not.

People are the biggest issue in "Security", and they are not going to go away ....

  • Well i'm more talking about technical vulnerabilities because if people leak sensitive info i wouldn't consider that a "computer security" problem. I'd consider it an organizational problem. – user2514631 Jan 28 '15 at 1:57
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    @user2514631 People leaking sensitive info can be an infosec issue, but it also goes past what most people consider "leaking." My school, around the start of this year, had a neat targeted phishing attack against it. The phishing site looked exactly like the actual SSO login site, just at a different domain. Once they had a couple peoples' credentials, they used those to send out more emails, these coming from a legitimate school email address and taking you to the standard SSO page. They got a lot of accounts that way, and it boils down to a problem with users, not a bug in a program. – cpast Jan 28 '15 at 3:13

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