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DomainTools 2018 Predictions: Cybersecurity Outlook 2018 - Rise of the Machines

VMblog Predictions 2018

Industry executives and experts share their predictions for 2018.  Read them in this 10th annual series exclusive.

Contributed by John Conwell, Senior Data Scientist, DomainTools

Cybersecurity Outlook 2018: Rise of the Machines

Rapid advances in technology are providing significant
 benefits in helping business automate processes and improve 
efficiencies. But it is difficult for security practices to keep up,
 which has proven to result in sometimes-disastrous effects
 on business continuity. Machine learning, a current hot topic 
in tech and business, provides one example. This technology 
enables a computer to learn over time how to conduct specific 
tasks without being explicitly programmed to do so. While the
 possibilities and opportunities for streamlining cumbersome
 business processes are endless, machine learning also reveals 
a unique opportunity for sophisticated hackers to intervene and influence unmonitored systems.

Similarly, the broad commercialization of drones, a new wave of IoT devices, exposes another vulnerability and threat vector for hackers. DomainTools research found that 52 percent of security professionals feel the biggest threat in 2018 is the increasing number of connected devices and vulnerabilities surrounding them. While IoT devices like smart TVs and home systems have been successfully hacked before, a hacked drone is the latest example of an IoT device that introduces a serious threat of bodily harm.

John Conwell, Senior Data Scientist at DomainTools, a threat intelligence company, shares his insight on the rise of machines in 2018:

"The example data that is used to teach computers how to make decisions is a very unique and dangerous threat vector. Any company that collects external data to feed into their machine learning systems are vulnerable to malicious actors injecting either noise or specific signals into these data feeds for the purpose of influencing the system's behavior. We saw a simple example of this with Microsoft's Tay chat bot last year, where people interacted with the bot for the specific purpose to turn it into a raging hate machine. This threat vector can be very hard to identify and as more and more companies bring machine learning systems online the danger will increase."

 "Since 2015 we've seen a huge uptake in the development of commercial uses for drones including: construction surveying, mine surveying, delivery services, agricultural monitoring, and most recently, disaster and insurance assessment, etc. These devices range anywhere from a few pounds, up to 50+ pounds, and are guided either by a connected pilot or via an autonomous system; both of which are susceptible to influence or interruption by external actors. Drone manufacturers are in a race right now to create the "GoPro" of the drone industry, the product that defines the entire market, and in this race security most likely will be an afterthought. Early attacks will probably start out as amateur script kiddies trying to see if they can hack a flying drone, but could evolve into coordinated attacks by professional hackers."


About the Author

john conwell 

John Conwell, Senior Data Scientist, DomainTools

John "Turbo" Conwell is a Senior Data Scientist at DomainTools. He brings 10 years of experience in data science and machine learning to bear on cybersecurity. He is currently focusing on building models to identify domains created for malicious intent as soon as they are created.

Published Thursday, November 02, 2017 7:40 AM by David Marshall
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