20 Jan Cyber Security in 2017 – Predicting What Will Not Happen
In January of each year, the cyber security industry is inundated with predictions about what the new year will bring. New forms of malware, anticipated major data breaches, security legislation, emerging technologies, and numerous other trends will all be discussed, debated, and pontificated.
So just to be different, I’ve decided to generate a list of what will not happen in 2017. So, here’s my prediction of 10 things that the cyber security industry is unlikely to see during the next 12 months.
- The number of data breaches will not be diminishing. OK, so this is probably obvious, but sadly, the enemy is gaining ground. Data breaches are at an all-time high, and there’s no reason to believe this trend will go away in 2017. Fortunately, individual organizations that do decide to deploy adequate security tools can buck the trend.
- The same major threats we’ve dealt with for many years will unfortunately, not be going away. Phishing, crimeware/malware, insider abuse, denial of service, security configuration errors, exploits of software vulnerabilities, and weak logon credentials have all been leading causes of security breaches for decades. While there is some progress being made in the area of strengthening logon credentials, for the most part you can expect to see these same threats being exploited throughout 2017 and beyond. No doubt in new and more sophisticated ways, but essentially the same threats.
- The cost of a data breach is not going to lessen. While we may see some minor fluctuations in the average costs of a data breach, most organizations are not keeping up with the evolution of modern malware. The resulting breaches are going to continue driving costs up.
- Dwell time (the length of time an intruder remains operating within a victim’s environment before being detected) will not be reduced. Malware and criminal practices continue to become more sophisticated, stealthy, and evasive. Unless organizations deploy the latest anomaly detection tools, intruders will remain undetected for months.
- Ransomware is not going away. This is another obvious trend, but the impact of this insidious form of crimeware is so far reaching that it would be a blatant mistake to omit it from this list.
- We won’t solve the shortage of cyber security professionals anytime soon. Anyone who’s tried to hire skilled security personnel in the last year knows it’s just about impossible. Unfortunately, it’s going to take many years before we make a lot of progress in this area. For now, the best thing an organization can do is implement advanced security tools that will leverage the time and skills of their short-handed security staff.
- Neither technology nor user education will significantly reduce phishing attacks. Although organizations should diligently teach users how to detect and avoid phishing, history has repeatedly shown that a huge percentage of users will still fall prey to these assaults. Good products can also help reduce phishing attacks, but corporations need to assume that a significant number of phishing attacks will succeed, and implement tools and procedures to quickly detect them and respond appropriately when it happens.
- The CISO’s job will not be getting easier. Although new products and technologies will emerge to help combat cybercrime, they won’t necessarily be replacing existing security products. The net of it is that each year more and more tools are required to keep pace with the adversary. That requires more management and homework for the CISOs. Even when security is largely outsourced, the chief security officer will have his hands full.
- Critical Infrastructure will no longer be ignored by mainstream cyber criminals. In the past, only a select few cyber criminals had the skills necessary to effectively attack critical infrastructures. Recently we’ve seen extremely sophisticated malware offered to the dark world as a service. This enables individuals with very little experience to become efficient cyber criminals, even for niche targets.
- The Internet of Things (IoT) will surely be at the heart of a number of security incidents this year and will make for some interesting news. But damages done from IoT based threats will pale in comparison to the injuries resulting from more traditional threats.
There you have it, my predictions of things that will not happen in 2017.
In any case, we can expect to see a very interesting twelve-month period ahead of us. So, buckle up, and be prepared for yet another year of exciting times in the security industry. This leads me to one last prediction of what will not happen. I guarantee that it will not be a boring year for anyone in the security industry.