Future of cyber

In an ever-changing cyber landscape, the only certainty is that cybercrime will continue to grow. To counter new and morphing threats, what are the crucial technology trends that cyber leaders will count on?

Known knowns

Technology continues to become more omnipresent with an ever-increasing attack surface and attackers are combining creativity with pragmatism to break into IT systems. We know that hackers will seek out the weakest link, whether that’s third parties and supply chain partners, unpatched systems, weak passwords, unprotected privileged accounts or humans who are susceptible to errors, phishing, social engineering, and insider threats. As defenders, we are experiencing a cyber talent shortage and the complexity as well as the cost of cyber security become increasingly unsustainable. To address these challenges we explore how security models have been shifting and how Zero Trust Networks are minimising the amount of trust we place into any IT component. Organisations need to shift towards a ‘secure by design’ model and use counterintelligence to improve security while reigning in cost, complexity and the dependencies on scarce talent.

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Known unknowns

The most prominent known unknown is probably quantum computing. Quantum computing will break or substantially weaken today’s cryptographic protocols, we just don’t know how fast this threat will materialise. Even assuming a 10-year time horizon, hostile actors could store encrypted data today with the objective to break it in 10 years’ time. The COVID-19 pandemic also creates more known unknowns for the future of cyber security. The global COVID-19 pandemic is accelerating digitisation and therefore the need for cyber resilience is more vital than ever. Phishing and social engineering attacks are likely to only be the first wave of cyber-attacks with future waves exploiting less obvious vulnerabilities. This pandemic also challenges us to decide how much privacy we are willing to sacrifice for the benefit of health and safety.

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Unknown knowns

The history of cyber security has been one of evolution rather than revolution. Looking forward, the only near certainty is that digitisation will continue its triumph and cybercrime will continue to innovate and grow. Quantum computing is the potential disruptor that could fundamentally change how we defend our IT systems. Beyond this, security is likely to evolve in relation to six trends

  1. Ensuring a basic level of cyber hygiene
  2. Necessity for automation in response to talent shortage
  3. Investing in a ‘secure by design’ approach
  4. Focus of efforts towards counterintelligence to thwart advanced threats
  5. Equal importance given to recoverability and prevention
  6. An increase in (self) regulation.

Cyber security leaders must ask themselves, am I sufficiently prepared?

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