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Juniper Networks 2019 Predictions: New Advancements Bring New Threats

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

Contributed by Laurence Pitt is Global Security Strategy Director at Juniper Networks

New Advancements Bring New Threats

2019 brings the promise of innovative developments and use cases for 5G, AI and machine learning, and automation - but these industry and technological advancements will undoubtedly be met with sophisticated and aggressive cybersecurity threats. Enterprises and consumers should be excited for the benefits that voice activated technologies and 5G connectivity espouse while actively taking precautions to strengthen network security and ensure their security posture is strong enough to combat these threats in the face of adoption.

The advent of skill-squatting

In 2019, we can expect skill-squatting to become a legitimate threat. With more and more voice assistant-powered smart speakers entering the home, "skills" - verbal commands that instruct the assistant to perform a task - are also becoming increasingly commonplace. Skill-squatting is a new threat where a skill is developed to look for certain statements and then re-direct them before running the requested command. This could mean that a request to "play some music in the kitchen" could be overtaken to first extract a user's Wi-Fi information, home network and possibly password, before running the usual command so the user never knows their information has been stolen. With smart speakers ruling the home, we can expect to see them become bigger targets in 2019.

Malware will become faster, stronger and (artificially) intelligent

2019 will see wider adoption in AI and Machine Learning in forensic incident analysis and with that, a surge in abuse of the technologies. While false positives and negatives associated with the technologies cause industry experts to question their reliability, cybercriminals don't share those concerns. AI and ML will open new doors for hackers to carry out more sophisticated and personal attacks in the new year and beyond, making it critical for enterprises to stay one step ahead and stop attacks in their tracks.

5G will make it faster and easier... for the bad guys to get in

2019 will bring widespread 5G connectivity for the very first time, and with it, exponential growth in connected devices. Regardless of the purpose of the device, any device connected to 5G has the potential to become a target for hackers - even if it runs on a secured 5G network, it is still a wireless device and therefore available as a target for a breach. The growth of 5G means that the industry needs to be considering how to have an effective security posture and a solid foundation of security before these new networks are deployed.


About the Author


Laurence Pitt is Global Security Strategy Director at Juniper Networks. He has more than twenty years of cybersecurity experience, having started out in systems design and moved through product management in areas from endpoint security to managed networks. In his role at Juniper, he articulates security clearly to business and across the business, creating and having conversations to provoke careful thought about process, policy and solutions. Security throughout the network is a key area where Juniper can help as business moves to the cloud and undertakes the challenge of digital transformation.

Published Friday, January 04, 2019 7:35 AM by David Marshall
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