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IronNet Cybersecurity 2020 Predictions: Into the Looking Glass

VMblog Predictions 2020 

Industry executives and experts share their predictions for 2020.  Read them in this 12th annual series exclusive.

By Gregory Conti, Senior Security Strategist at IronNet Cybersecurity

Into the Looking Glass

As we look to a new year, one may say that we should anticipate new attack vectors, and while it is likely we will see the emergence of some new threats, we must also keep recurring threats top of mind. Malicious actors are targeting everyone from the government to school systems and beyond, and it will take a collective approach to see a difference. 

Collective Defense Will Be on the Rise - While some organizations will attempt to stand alone, against sophisticated state threat actors, often unsuccessfully, increasingly other organizations will adopt a teamwork-based approach. The government will learn to be a better partner and will address quality issues and classification restrictions hindering sharing information with the private sector. We'll see progress, likely not a perfect solution, but non-trivial improvements that demonstrate the real possibilities of public-private information sharing partnerships. Commercial solutions will emerge that share threat information between private companies at high speed, better defending critical infrastructure sectors and large cities. The combination of these efforts will improve security among all participants.

The U.S. Government Will Organize Better to Execute and Counter Information Operations - U.S. Cyber forces will take a more aggressive role in countering both adversary information operations and cyber operations through its strategies of persistent engagement and defending forward. Additionally, we will see U.S. forces create synergies by blending cyber operations, influence operations, and electronic warfare teams into cohesive operational organizations.

U.S. Government Cyber Operations Will (Partially) Emerge from the Shadows - As U.S. cyber operations become more assertive, they will become better at sharing their successes. Public disclosure will help policy makers support these activities and will also help increase public understanding and support. However, the most important benefit may be the deterrent effect these public relations efforts will have on our adversaries.

Major Cloud Providers Will Find a Bullseye on Their Backs - As more and more organizations move their critical systems and data to the cloud for efficiency, scalability, and cost reduction, cloud provider infrastructure will increasingly become a high payoff target. A target, that if compromised, could have devastating effects on the economy and national security. In 2020, we believe state adversaries will redouble their efforts to attack cloud systems. Whether the defenses in place will withstand the attacks remains to be seen.


About the Author

Gregory Conti 

Gregory Conti is currently Senior Security Strategist at IronNet Cybersecurity, previously he ran West Point's cybersecurity research and education programs for almost a decade. He holds a PhD in computer science and has more than 70 research publications on information security and recently published the book "On Cyber: Towards an Operational Art for Cyber Conflict" (Kopidion Press). Greg has served as Officer in Charge of a forward deployed expeditionary cyber team, acted as a Senior Advisor in the US Cyber Command Commander's Action Group, and co-created US Cyber Command's flagship Joint Advanced Cyber Warfare Course (JACWC). He has spoken at numerous security conferences, including Black Hat, DEFCON, RSA, and the NATO Conference on Cyber Conflict.
Published Wednesday, November 13, 2019 7:35 AM by David Marshall
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