2018 was an interesting year for all things cyber. It was the year that brought major breaches pretty much every week. Most recently, the Marriott Hotel group suffered a significant data breach, while Quora fell foul to some cyber criminals. Cyber security is still the issue on every business leaders mind.
This year, organizations have had to get their house in order with GDPR, amongst others, coming into force on May 25th. The stakes for protecting your organization from cyber threats have never been higher.
So, what can we expect to see in 2019 then? Here are some things to consider.
Cyber Security Regulations Improvement
We need to see a continuing improvement in the relevant regulations as apply to cyber security. The dynamic and fast-moving nature of cyber security outpaces regulation which is far too slow and clumsy to be of any benefit and might actually hinder security by building a culture of compliance with regulations and a false sense of security against enemies who are agile, motivated and clever.
Data Theft Turning Into Data Manipulation
We can expect to see attackers changing their methodology from pure data theft and website hacking to attacking data integrity itself. This type of attack, in comparison to a straightforward theft of data, will serve to cause long-term, reputational damage to individuals or groups by getting people to question the integrity of the data in question.
Demand will Continue to Rise for Security Skills
A global shortage of cyber security skills in the workplace arguably makes organizations more desirable targets for hacking. Demand for expertise will rise as companies realize that their current IS strategy is not sufficient. Also, with companies increasingly insourcing their security needs, internal training and skills growth has to continue to accelerate. Tailored training programmes are crucial.
Cyber Security and Internet of Things (IoT)
‘Secure by design’ will garner much copy, but probably will not deliver until 2019 or beyond. We’ll have to wait and see with this, as connected devices are increasing in circulation by the day, and perhaps it is only a matter of time before the security vulnerabilities are exposed – could there be a repeat of the Mirai Botnet in 2019.
Indeed, the next generation of AI-powered attacks will be crafty enough to emulate the behaviors of specific users to fool even skilled security personnel. This might include the ability to craft complex and bespoke phishing campaigns that will successfully fool even the most threat-conscious among us.
Attackers will Continue to Target Consumer Devices
Ransomware is a recognized problem for companies of all shapes and sizes, epitomised by the large scale WannaCry attack that decimated the UK’s NHS and organizations around the world. In 2019 and beyond, will we start to see consumers being targeted across a range of connected objects? This is a likely scenario, with examples coming out of child predators targeting IoT devices in toys (designed for children). Attackers might even target the smart TV in your house via a ransomware attack that would require you to pay a fee to unlock it.
Attackers will Become Bolder, More Commercial, Less Traceable
Hackers will look to become more organized and more commercialized, perhaps even having their own call centers – something already seen with fraudulent dating sites. They will look to base themselves in countries where cyber crime is barely regarded as a crime and thereby placing themselves outside their victims’ police jurisdictions.
Attackers will get Smarter
Attackers capability to write bespoke targeted code will continue to improve faster than the defenders ability to counter ahead of it. They will continue to exploit the Dark Web, a small portion of the Deep Web, in order to successfully hide and to communicate with other criminals.
Breaches will get More Complicated and Harder to Beat
Cyber criminals will look to grow their malicious activities using malicious code in ever more devious ways. Such a ransomware variant has already been discovered using an innovative system to increase infections: the software turns victims into attackers by offering a pyramid scheme-style discount. If the victim passes on a link to the malware and two or more people install this file and pay, the original victim has their files decrypted for free.
Cyber Risk Insurance will Become More Common
This type of insurance will increasingly become part of operational risk strategy, however, the insurance industry needs to tailor products specific to client needs and not just provide blanket cover as extensions to existing risks. As the industry evolves we might see cyber insurance covering for loss of reputation and trust with their customers, loss of future revenue from negative media or other exposure, and improvement costs for security infrastructure or system upgrades.
New Job Titles Appearing – CCO (Chief Cybercrime Officer)
In the aftermath of the TalkTalk data breach, MPs recommended appointing an officer with day-to-day responsibility for protecting computer systems from attack.
Will 2019 see Organizations Looking to Appoint a Chief Cybercrime Officer?
The CCO would be responsible for ensuring that an organization is cyber-ready, would bear the responsibility for preventing breaches, would take the lead if a breach did occur and provide a robust connection between the board and the rest of the company.
Article by: Nick Ismail