In this last chapter of the dissertation motivation behind the research is discussed and the conclusion of the research is presented. The conclusion is presented by revisiting the research objectives set in first chapter of the dissertation and then, analysing the results obtained, in light of these objectives. As vulnerabilities, exploits and security in information and communication technology is a very vast topic and presenting various type of cyber attacks and their corresponding security measures is beyond the scope of this or any single research. So, the scope of the research study, as conducted by the researcher, is also discussed in this chapter. The chapter ends with the discussion regarding the further scope of the research which can be taken up to enhance the work presented in this research dissertation.
7.1 Research Objectives Revisited
In chapter 1 of the research, objectives of the research were stated as follows:
- To study the sustainable development of ICT sector
- Analyze effect of penetration level on economy
- Dependency analysis of other sectors on ICT
- Growth analysis of vulnerabilities in ICT sector
- Model to control vulnerabilities and ensure sustainability
This section discusses that how well these objectives have been achieved in the research.
7.1.1 Sustainable development of ICT
The sustainable development of ICT has been defined in chapter 1 as, continuous and consistent development of information and communication technology to meet the needs of the current as well as future generations. Sustainable development has three facets as economic, social and environmental sustainability. In this research, only two facets of sustainability i.e. economic and social sustainability of ICT sector are studied. The economic sustainability of ICT means that the sector will continue to add substantial economic value globally in terms of GDP value addition and employment opportunities for people.
The social sustainability means, continuous use of ICT to enable human development, improvement their living standards, and eliminate social evils such as poverty, illiteracy, malnutrition etc. An efficient use of ICT can facilitate the development of the citizens of the country by providing them much needed information, education to take correct decisions to enable growth.
7.1.2 Effect of penetration rate on economy
The most evident value addition that ICT has brought in last three decades has been the positive economic impact that it has on the countries of the world. The counties which had embraced computers and internet in its inception phase are all developed countries today.
In this research it has been proved beyond doubt that the economic development of a country is heavily dependent on ICT. Continuous and efficient use of ICT by countries has enabled them to add huge economic value to the GDP. The correlation between the GDP and internet penetration rate across the world has been found to a perfect positive correlation, which means that a country with higher penetration rate would largely have high per capita GDP.
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High degree of positive correlation between the use of ICT and economy of the country has been established in the research, so if the ICT sector keeps on growing at a constant rate it will generate more income and raise the living standards for the people of the world. Also after realizing this impact of ICT on economy most of the developing countries in the world have started implementing and encouraging use of ICT, and hence the growth in penetration rate of the internet in developing countries and regions of the world have been found to be higher hen there developed counterparts.
7.1.3 Dependence of other sectors on ICT
ICT sector has a considerable share in GDP and employment of a country but this is only a partial contribution of its total effect. The actual affect of ICT is much larger as it adds value to all other sectors which contribute to the economy of the country. Hence ICT is adding value to economy in multiple ways.
In this research the affect of ICT on other sectors of the economy such as banking and other financial institutions, retail, transportation and logistics, tourism and healthcare sector has been studied. Only the above mentioned five sectors have been studied in this research but ICT has similar influence on all other service sectors of the economy. According to the study in chapter 3 of this dissertation ICT has been found to the enabler for most of the product and process innovations in these other service sectors of the economy. Some of the innovative business models such as e-commerce and online reservations have been deployed in many organizations of the world and these contribution and movement of the traditional world to the virtual world will continue in future and thus lead to sustainable development of ICT.
7.1.4 Growth rate of ICT vulnerabilities
The biggest hindrance to the sustainable development of ICT is the growth in vulnerabilities, exploits and cyber attacks. When a user is connected to the internet he also becomes susceptible to these cyber threats. These treats if exploited by a cyber miscreant may lead to more financial loss to an individual or organization then the perceived value addition of using ICT. This disposition of lack of trust is the main reason for sustainable development of ICT not being on the expected lines and its potential is not being fully utilized.
To ensure its sustainable development the ICT sector has to constrain these constantly growing cyber threats. In chapter 4 of the research the consistence growth of vulnerabilities has been studied and it has been proved from a global perspective that vulnerabilities have been increasing at the compounded annual growth rate of around 30% annually.
7.1.5 Model to enable sustainable growth of ICT
In the final chapters of the research dissertation a specific example of security threat in wireless sensor networks of the future has been studied. The scenario of wireless sensor network has been taken because it is the most commonly implemented wireless ad-hoc network today, and is going to be used extensively in all smart city and Internet of Things projects in future. With these projects in focus the miscreants are likely to use the existing attacks in novel forms to attack them to disturb the functioning of these interconnected and autonomous networks.
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Sybil attack, which is a serious threat to ad-hoc networks, has been chosen in this research study as it, not only compromises the functioning of sensor network, but also enables and facilitate many other attacks in sensor networks. For example Sybil identities once generated in the network can lead to Black hole attacks, blackmailing attacks, denial of service attacks etc. So the motivation behind this research choice was that if this one attack can be controlled it would lead to reduction in other types of attacks as well.
Before suggesting a model to prevent Sybil attacks in wireless sensor networks, the real world data was captured and analysed to establish the existence of these attack in real world. After considerable Sybil attack signatures were identified in the captured data a trust based model for WSN has been suggested in which a server agent or base station is entrusted with the responsibility of authorizing the wireless nodes before participating in the network operations. Using this admission control mechanism the Sybil nodes can be totally prevented in the network and thus lead to more predictable and reliable delivery of data across the network. As discussed in the previous chapter the effectiveness of the proposed model has been defended using the simulation results of the existing and the proposed system.
7.2 Scope of research study
As the types of network and their corresponding vulnerabilities are numerous and can’t be studied in a single research. The Sybil attack which is a particularly harmful attack in wireless sensor network has been studied and protection model for the same has been proposed. As discussed in previous section, wireless sensor networks were selected as they are considered as future of ad-hoc networks and Sybil attack was selected because of its capability to facilitate additional attacks in sensor networks. By no means has the researcher wanted to state that other types of network and attacks are not important, in fact as if today, other types of wired and wireless networks are more frequently implemented and warrant considerable research to enable sustainable development of ICT, but WSN are definitely going to be the future of networks and will play an even more important role in times to come in sustainable development of ICT.
The scope of a global study is also sometimes restricted by the availability of data for all parameters of study in the global scenario. In this research most of the data used has been global but in case of sectoral study the consistent secondary data for the whole world was not available so the data from European Union has been used to analyse the dependency of other service sectors of the economy on ICT and has been generalised in a global scenario.
7.3 Recommendation for Further Study
This research study has a specific focus on Sybil attacks in WSN but there are many other type of attacks and networks which are equally important in sustainable development of ICT. This section of the chapter recommends some further research topics in the area of sustainable ICT development in general and protection against Sybil and other attacks in other type of networks.
7.3.1 Sybil attack in other Categories of WANET
In this research Sybil attacks have been studied in context of wireless sensor networks which is one category of wireless ad-hoc network but there are other categories of WANET such as mobile ad-hoc network and vehicular ad-hoc network which are also affected by Sybil attacks and a security model can be developed for protecting these types of networks. The model suggested in this research for WSN cannot be directly applied to the MANET or VANET as centralization is less feasible because of high mobility rate and absence of central command and control centre in form of base station in these networks.
In WSN the nodes may or may not be mobile and even when mobility is there it is slow and infrequent, for example in a smart city garbage collection system, a bin would act as a node, but it will move only once or twice during a day, in a wireless sensor network enabled smart home all devices such as television, refrigerator, washing machine and smart phone are connected but the relative movement is infrequent. In case of MANET and VANET the situation is completely different as vehicles will constantly move and same vehicles may never become neighbours again so developing a trust based solution is not possible in such networks and a different model is required for protection.
7.3.2 Other attacks in WANET
In this research Sybil attack has been studied but there are many other attacks which also seriously compromise the efficiency of wireless ad-hoc networks. For example denial of service attack can take various forms in different kind of networks and its modus operandi and corresponding defences are different in various kinds of networks. Other attacks which are targeted at WANET and discussed in chapter 5 of this research can be studied and suggestive models can be proposed to defend the WANET from these attacks.
Various routing attacks are particularly very annoying in WANET as they negatively affect the routing in an ad-hoc network and lead to packets loss. These routing attacks can be a further topic of research to enable sustainable development of ICT.
7.3.3 New design paradigm for WANET
In computational and interconnection theory of computers, security has never been of prime concern. All the effort of a software company is in making the software do the task it is supposed to do and do it as efficiently as possible. In this performance focused approach security is often neglected. When such software is launched in market it carries many vulnerabilities that are exploited by the attackers to compromise the computational system and cause loss to the organization or individuals.
In recent years, after realizing the disastrous capability of these output focused programming techniques now the software designers and developer are moving on to more security centric approaches of software development. Similarly, if security is inbuilt in the design of the networks, they will be more immune to the attacks. So, this new design paradigm being used by software development industry can be implemented network design as well.
In the summary of the conclusion of the research it can be stated that the wireless ad-hoc network being the future of computer networks will be attacked continuously in future. The existing attacks in new forms and new zero day attacks will constantly be discovered by the cyber attackers and it will never be easy for the system administrators to defend their system. The new defence mechanisms will have to be developed to protect our information architecture and ensure the sustainable development of ICT.
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