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Thycotic 2018 Predictions: The Future of Cybersecurity

VMblog Predictions 2018

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

Contributed by Joseph Carson, Chief Security Scientist, Thycotic

2018 Predictions: The Future of Cybersecurity

Cyber security is quickly becoming part of everyone's daily life and can no longer be separated between personal and work life.  In the past, cyber-attacks were typically only a concern for the workplace; however, today that is no longer the case with cyber-attacks becoming more common - effecting everyone connected to the internet. 

Cyberattacks are going to be the biggest threat to everyone and businesses on earth and will be the trigger for future wars and political instability.        

Cyberattacks do not care about the age, gender, race, culture, beliefs or nationality of its victims. They attack based on opportunity and/or financial gain, irrespective of whom the victim is.

The question then becomes: Why is it that we continue to see so many cyber breaches?   If we look at why many of the breaches in recent years have occurred, it comes down to three major factors that can be categorized into the human factor, identities and credentials, and vulnerabilities.  With the digital social society, we are sharing more information publically, ultimately causing ourselves to be much more exposed to social engineering and targeted spear phishing attacks. When our identities are stolen, it provides the attacker with the ease of bypassing the traditional security perimeter undetected, existing security technologies, and if that identity has access to privilege accounts, they can easily carry out malicious attacks under your name.

Here are some predictions for the future of the internet as it relates to cybersecurity - are you ready?

#1 Privacy may be gone, but not forgotten - is it even reversible?

Yes, the end of privacy as we know it is closer than you may think.  Privacy definitions are very different between nation states and cultures - though one thing in common is that privacy is becoming less an option for most citizens.  In public, almost everyone is being watched and monitored 24/7 with thousands of cameras using your expressions, fashion, walk, directions, interactions and speech to determine what you need, what you might be thinking, who you are going to meet, who is nearby and even algorithms determining what your next action might be.  All of this to help provide a custom experience unique to everyone, as well as predict and prevent security threats.  The saying "if you have nothing to hide you have nothing to fear" is becoming reality.

#2 Ransomware will evolve to cross platform and payments will be single click

Ransomware is going to be platform agnostic and can lock people out of any device or system. The financial payment for ransomware is going to evolve significantly so that it will be as easy as clicking once to pay the ransomware.  It will target time sensitive systems and events, so watch out if you are taking part in the World Cup next year as cyber-crime will always be looking for major events to trick and take advantage of people wanting to get access to their favourite sport or concerts.  RansomScare will also be the next threat which will become a life and death situation unless a ransom is paid.

#3 Blockchain will become an important cybersecurity control

Most people are familiar with blockchain being the building blocks for cryptocurrencies and transactions; however, many are not familiar with its ability to provide non-repudiation or data integrity when related to cybersecurity.  Blockchain used heavily in the early digital systems within Estonia are primarily used to ensure history could not be re-written. This mind-set can be repeated in security when it comes to the integrity of systems and data.  Blockchain can be used for multiple different attributes -  ensuring data is not poisoned, used for digital forensics to ensure chain of custody does not manipulate the data and for security log integrity.  Blockchain is an ever-increasing trend in cybersecurity.   

#4 Governments and Encryption will come head to head

Governments hate not being able to spy on people and encryption is making it even more difficult for them to gather intelligence about other nation's foe or allies' activities either for political advantage, economic advantage or espionage.  What is surprising is that while this was typically for intelligence on other nation states, it has become more common practice for nation states monitoring their own citizens as disclosed by Edward Snowden.  With more people using VPN and encryption or messaging apps that have end to end encryption, we are going to see a head-to-head battle between governments and technology - especially when it relates to security and terrorism. 

#5 Humans will be connected directly to the internet

Even today humans are almost entirely connected to the internet.  Just like when our work and personal life separation disappeared, the next generation will only know of life continuously connected to the internet. And not just through fashion and technology getting intertwined along with our personalized internet experience, but they will literally be connected not through a device, but through their bodies. 

#6 Behaviour analysis and reputation will keep trust

Behaviour analysis and reputation will continue to become a normal part of validating trusted users of the network.  Rather than behavioural measurements like pressure or typing speed, behaviour analysis and reputation will be primarily based on our normal working predictions. For example, employees are predictable in the locations they work from, the systems they use, and the browsers or sequence in which applications and websites are opened. 

#7 Cyber hygiene will become a priority

Almost all companies will increase the priority of cyber hygiene by rolling out cyber awareness/hygiene projects.  People are the greatest risk of cyber incident, but can also be the strongest defence. What is true is that people are on the front-line of cyberattacks and a well informed and educated front-line can mean the difference between being safe or being a victim.

#8 Fake news will become the next major disruption

We have all heard about it, but sometimes struggle to grasp to the extent of it. With a lot of misleading news on social media, it is left up to the person reading to determine whether the information is true. With no indicators on the source or truth of the news on social media many countries, democracies and nation states will struggle with transparency and can in turn become politically unstable.  It only takes one piece of fake news within a trustworthy source to devalue the entire news feed forcing us to question what is real.  Fake news is a form of a cyberattack and will only grow significantly. 


About the Author 

Joseph Carson, Chief Security Scientist, Thycotic

A Cyber Security Professional with 20+ years' experience in Enterprise Security & Infrastructure, Joseph is a Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP). An active member of the cyber security community and a frequent speaker at cyber security events globally, Joseph is also an adviser to several cyber security conferences. 

Published Thursday, November 09, 2017 5:11 AM by David Marshall
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