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CGS 2019 Predictions: Preparing for the 2019 Threat Landscape - CISOs, Cyber Warfare and Next-Gen Attacks

Industry executives and experts share their predictions for 2019.  Read them in this 11th annual series exclusive.

Contributed by John Samuel, Global Chief Information Officer at CGS

Preparing for the 2019 Threat Landscape: CISOs, Cyber Warfare and Next-Gen Attacks

Reflecting on this past year, information technology and cybersecurity professionals saw several major trends start to take shape. This includes the U.S. Government publicly acknowledging Russia's involvement in the NotPeya malware and the electrical grid attacks in Ukraine, putting a spotlight on state-sponsored cyber warfare. Cybersecurity breaches continued to keep most IT professionals up at night along with a rise in data exposures, including such situations as the Exactis exposure, which compromised a database containing nearly 340 million individual records on a publicly accessible server. Approximately 2 terabytes of data that included personal information on hundreds of millions of Americans, as well as millions of businesses were affected. And, as more companies adopt next-gen technology for positive transformation, cybercriminals are embracing a new breed of increasingly sophisticated and intelligent attacks. 

With these themes in mind, here are some cybersecurity trends that should be on every company's radar headed into the New Year:

Next-Gen Technology Will Continue Advancing the Threat Landscape

Along with the positive changes that Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) technologies are bringing to many industries, they also allow cybercriminals to perpetrate new "intelligent" attacks. AI is capable of enabling cybercriminals to scale and carry out attacks at an all-new level, including instances that deploy intelligent malware. And yet, AI and ML are also becoming part of the solution. The U.S. Government is actually leading the charge in smart solutions, as seen in a PwC report that notes "the winner of the U.S. Defense Department's DARPA Cyber Grand Challenge, a cybersecurity competition, used AI deep learning-and the Pentagon has purchased the technology." As AI begins to be used as a force for bad and good, cybersecurity professionals must adopt new methods of automated prevention, including systems that are designed to identify anomalous behavior and then automatically contain and block them.

State-Sponsored Cyber Warfare Will Reach New Heights

State-sponsored cyberattacks are highly technical and well-executed, meaning traditional cybersecurity tools will not be able to handle these assaults. As these threats become more sophisticated resulting from AI and ML, they are becoming hyper adaptive and exponentially scalable, and nearly impossible for technology alone to keep up with them. In 2019, governments will focus heavily on creating state-sponsored cybersecurity protections, policies, procedures and guidance. Governments must lead charge on a unified approach for a more coordinated response to increasingly damaging state-sponsored attacks. 

CISOs Will Become a ‘Need to Have' - Not a ‘Nice to Have'  

Given the unpredictable threat landscape, it has never been more crucial for organizations to add a Chief Information Security Officer (CISO) to their executive bench. According to ISACA's 2017 State of Cyber Security Study, only 65 percent of global organizations have a CISO. In 2019, we will see this number rise exponentially. The CISO is someone dedicated to aligning risk, compliance and security - all of which have become extremely important in a post-GDPR era. Organizations that do not appoint a senior security official will have inherent gaps in technology and cybersecurity, affecting the overall success of their business. In addition to the CISO, we can also expect organizations to expand their teams with new roles such as a chief data privacy officer, compliance officers and similar positions focused on compliance and cybersecurity.

For those of us leading IT and cybersecurity teams, the easiest prediction to make each year is to expect the unexpected. There is no roadmap to pinpoint exactly what new technology will take center stage or what new threats will be coming our way. Yet, even without a precise diagram, we do have a general sense of direction to help us succeed in the year ahead. By keeping these trends in minds, companies can start to prepare for 2019.


About the Author


John Samuel joined CGS as its Global Chief Information Officer in 2016. With more than 20 years of progressive technology operations experience, he leads CGS technology operations. He is responsible for shaping the IT strategy and aligning it with the company's strategy, products and offerings.

Published Thursday, November 01, 2018 7:25 AM by David Marshall
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