Ten information security and data protection predictions for 2019
- Published: Friday, 23 November 2018 09:05
BeyondTrust experts Morey Haber, chief technology officer, and Brian Chappell, senior director, Enterprise & Solutions Architecture make ten predictions for developments in information security, cyber risks and data protection during 2019:
1. AI on the attack – Skynet is becoming self-aware! 2019 will see an increasing number of attacks coordinated with the use of AI/machine learning. AI will analyze the available options for exploit and develop strategies that will lead to an increase in successful attacks. AI will also be able to take information gathered from successful hacks and incorporate that into new attacks, potentially learning how to identify defense / defence strategies from the pattern of available exploits. This evolution may potentially lead to attacks that are significantly harder to defend against.
2. Privileged attacks continue - privileged attack vectors will continue to be the number one root cause of breaches for both consumer and business data. While Gartner has acknowledged that privileged access management is the top security priority for 2018, many organizations are still in denial of their privileged account risks, which frequently stem from poor password management hygiene. 2019 will see even more high-profile breaches. Organizations must discover and manage their privileged accounts because the attack vector is not going away anytime soon and ugly newspaper headlines will continue to plague boardrooms.
3. Well-known vulnerabilities will continue to dominate cyber attack reports - the pattern of successful attacks through the use of well-known and entirely preventable vulnerabilities shows little sign of abating. Organizations continue to focus their efforts injudiciously, ignoring the lower severity vulnerabilities with known exploits in preference for largely academic high severity vulnerabilities. This leaves their systems vulnerable, which can then open up pathways for further exploitation, resulting in major data exfiltration incidents.
4. The supply chain is at risk - major security breaches will continue to dominate the news, but the newest form of attacks on organizations will come in the form of an attack on their supply chains. Considering the recent Bloomberg article accusing China of embedding chips the size of a grain of rice into supermicro servers, and previous attacks using embedded chips on printers purchased by the United States Government, the threat is very real. Corporate attacks and corporate espionage will take on a whole new meaning as more supply chain attacks with embedded malware are discovered.
5. IoT devices become major targets – the major devices targeted will be IoT and will range anywhere from consumer-based routers to home-based nanny cams. Expect the supply chain for many vendors, including those that produce personal digital assistances, to be a new target from threat actors who infiltrate environments and insecure DevOps processes.
6. Industrial control systems come into focus - the forthcoming few years will see an increase in the attention that ICS/SCADA systems attract from cybercriminals and nation-state hackers. The opportunity to create ransomware scenarios directly affecting critical national infrastructure will draw attention from cyber criminals motivated both by financial gain as well as those who are looking to develop weapons in the evolving cyber-frontline. Historically, operational technology (OT) teams have been reluctant to engage with IT security practices, but we are seeing this change as all teams recognize that cybersecurity is a critical aspect of business continuity.
7. Android closes open access - Android will no longer be fully open and extensible. Google has already announced that only the ‘default’ application can access calls and SMS texting data for the next release of Android, and the default application must be explicitly set in the configuration. No longer can multiple applications – including tools used for spam detection – be shared with your calling and texting applications. Expect Google to continue this trend to fight malware and spyware by closing more of the operating system in the name of security.
8. Infonomics will begin to become mainstream - just like other intellectual property, expect businesses to begin applying a value to the data and disclosing the information they have and what it costs ‘for sale’. If you think this is farfetched, consider the value of GPS data over the last 30 years. From the early days of MapQuest to dedicated GPS receivers, driving and transportation data has become a commodity. However, if you start layering other data – like traffic, construction, etc. – used by the likes of Waze - you have a high-valued database that will become crucial for autonomous cars. There is real value there and it will come at a price to car manufacturers. The data itself therefore has a value, and businesses will begin rating themselves more publicly on the Infonomics they possess and not just to private equity firms or other businesses looking at merger and acquisition activities, or purchase of the information.
9. The millennials issue: evolving definitions of privacy - the millennial generation will share almost anything on the Internet. Social media has proven that almost anything goes regardless of its perceived sensitivity. This implies that nearly an entire generation has a lower sensitivity to private data and that a ‘who cares’ attitude for sensitive information is beginning its own movement. In addition, as we become numb to data exposure, the public dumping of health records and voter registration information, expect some push back from the youngest voting group regarding the data being exposed due to a hack. If most sensitive personal data is public (like name, email, address, birthday, etc.) and only the most important information protected (social security number, bank records, credit cards), the value is diminished for anything already being exposed today and the ‘who cares’ movement has begun. Expect data classification to evolve based on the youngest users, and what we consider private today will not be private, or of a concern, tomorrow.
10. Centralized information brokers emerge - in an effort to protect and control the exposure of personal data, information ‘brokers’ will begin to emerge. These services will provide centralized mechanisms that allow granular sharing of data so that only the essential data is shared for whatever service you are signing up to. The EU has been working on digital identity in this form for several years and may well be the first to bring that into full effect, but others will follow in providing a mechanism by which our data is decentralized. This will help limit individual data exposures when systems are compromised and allow more control by individuals over their data and who has legitimate access to it.