By all accounts, 2017 has been a pretty significant year in cybersecurity. Trend such as machine learning and Artificial Intelligence were hot topics and the boom in chatter around IoT security due to the Mirai botnet took many headlines. In addition, regulations such as the EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) created quite the buzz. Below is some other observations for the year ahead and how we may see old trends re-emerge.
Malware-as-a service goes mainstream. Malware is already a lucrative business, and cybercriminals have realised they stand to make even more money by turning the tools they use into a commodity and selling them through affiliate programs. Criminals with little know-how can purchase malware kits that come with easy-to-use, single-line command scripts, making it simple for someone with just a little money and access to the cybercriminal underground to launch a cyberattack. These kits are already gaining popularity, and we anticipate they will become more sophisticated with new features like the ability to target specific groups or users and credential harvesting.
Shadow IT continues to loom. The surge in solutions being purchased and used inside an organisation without explicit approval from IT will continue. Companies will focus more on context-aware security, giving them a basis for breach prevention, as well as invest in identity and application governance solutions. Organisations will also integrate robust employee education and training programs on the dangers of shadow IT, if they’re going to have a chance at combatting it in 2018.
Firewalls and virus protection officially become obsolete. In a world of cloud computing, the notion of a firewall is all but irrelevant. And with the proliferation of zero-day virus signatures, virus protection is completely ineffective. Today, all an attacker needs are the stolen credentials of your user. To protect your organisation, traditional “defence in depth” – firewalls, encryption, application barriers and the like — will no longer cut it. In 2018, we’ll see more and more organisations turn to an “identity in depth” approach to security, whereby they’ll augment traditional forms of cybersecurity with modern, intelligent, and adaptive identity-centric solutions.
Legislation will become a main focus, but guidelines will lag behind. With GDPR set to take effect in May of 2018 and 27+ U.S. states having enacted cybersecurity-related legislation in 2017 alone, we are starting to see cybersecurity and cyber protection gain significant attention among lawmakers, globally.
However, because the rate of change and adoption within the industry is vastly outpacing regulation, we’ll see a significant “knowledge vacuum,” whereby there will be mass confusion around how to actually put these laws into practice. In 2018, we’ll see businesses increasingly turn to consultants to help provide the needed education, guidance and context around these new laws to ensure compliance.
It can only be hoped that 2018 will be less volatile for enterprise security than 2017. We’ve learned some hard lessons over the last year, but here’s to a safer, more secure 2018!