Monday, January 2, 2017

Cyber Security Predictions for 2017

2016 was a big year in the annals of Cyber Security, and 2017 promises to eclipse it. While the drama of the election has largely subsided, the after-effect of the DNC attack and related Russian hacks is still building steam. President-elect Trump hinted this weekend that he had special information which he will share later this week, which in all honesty may tend to grow the controversy rather than silence it. The election hacking was not by any means the whole Cyber Security story for 2016 – but it did highlight that the stakes for Cyber security are slowly but steadily escalating. So what can we expect for this year?
I’m going to make ten predictions for what may happen in 2017 in the field of Cyber Security. These prognostications are not made with any unusual knowledge but rather through examination of previous trends and logical extrapolation of where those are likely to lead us to.
  • Prediction 1 – The situation relating to Fake news will shortly lead to various types of Internet self-censorship. This may involve techniques such as badges for legitimate news outlets which will then trigger innovation on the part of attackers in attempts to mimic them.
  • Prediction 2 – Cyber-attacks will play a significant role in one or more world conflicts. We are getting close to the point where a Cyber Attack alone might be tip the balance in some of these conflicts.
  • Prediction 3 – President-elect Trump will eventually get on the same page with the US Intelligence Community in regards to Cyber Security, but it will take a number of months and several high profile incidents to turn him around.
  • Prediction 4 – The cost of Cyber Crime will reach an all-time high; 2017 will mark the first year that Cyber Crime takes out one or more major financial institutions (causing damage to operations or reputation so severe that it forces closure).
  • Prediction 5 – Two-factor authentication will be more or less forced into becoming the primary way of logging into most online services.
  • Prediction 6 – Related to the above, password management as we know it (or have known it) will begin changing drastically. Applications will be provided that assign better passwords and password management apps (vaults) will become much more common. This always been the weakest link in security.
  • Prediction 7 – 2017 will be the worst year yet for the hacking of personal data. The techniques for obtaining such data have gotten ever-more effective yet most organizations still don’t know what all sensitive data they possess. It’s a formula for disaster.
  • Prediction 8 – 2017 will likely see a greater degree of integration between Cyber and traditional military and intelligence forces and not just in the US. One area of particular concern will be Cyber vulnerabilities within various traditional warfighting technologies.
  • Prediction 9 – While there will be continued discussion regarding the after-effects of the Russian election hacks, there will be little if any effort this year to safeguard American voting systems or processes.
  • Prediction 10 – 2017 will likely become the year of our first Cyber Demonstrations. So, what is a Cyber Demonstration? Essentially, it is a demonstration of power – some sort of disruption that is likely accompanied by a political message. We haven’t had too many of these outside the context of Wiki-leaks or the election. However, I have a feeling that this type of activity may become more common relatively soon.
I don’t think any of these predictions are particularly surprising – but then again surprises are hard to predict, so we’ll have to check back at the end of the year and see what we missed…

Copyright 2017, Stephen Lahanas


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