Digital cold war and other emerging threats we'll face in the next two years

data threat

A new report from the Information Security Forum looks at the threats organizations can expect to face over the next two years as a result of increasing developments in technology.

The Threat Horizon 2021 report highlights three major themes that will present particularly difficult cyber security challenges for businesses.

"By 2021 the world will be heavily digitized. Technology will enable innovative digital business models and society will be critically dependent on technology to function," says Steve Durbin, managing director of the ISF. "This new hyperconnected digital era will create an impression of stability, security and reliability. However, it will prove to be an illusion that is shattered by new vulnerabilities, relentless attacks and disruptive cyber threats."

The first is greater levels of connectivity. Vast webs of intelligent devices, combined with increased speeds, automation and digitisation will create possibilities for businesses and consumers that were previously out of reach. The Internet of Things (IoT) will continue to develop rapidly, with sensors and cameras embedded into a range of devices across critical infrastructure. The resulting web of complex digital connectivity will prove to be a weakness as modern life becomes entirely dependent on connected technologies, amplifying existing dangers and creating new ones.

Second is the possibility that by 2021, a digital cold war will unfold, causing significant damage to business. The report predicts race to develop strategically important, next generation technologies will provoke a period of intense nation state-backed espionage. Intellectual property will be targeted as the battle for economic and military dominance rages on. Cloud services will become a prime target for sabotage by those seeking to cause disruption to society and business. Drones will become both the weapon and target of choice as attackers turn their attention skywards.

The third area of concern is that competing in the digital marketplace will become increasingly difficult, as businesses develop new strategies which challenge existing regulatory frameworks and social norms, enabling threats to grow in speed and precision. Vulnerabilities in software and applications will be frequently disclosed online with ever-decreasing time available to fix them. Organizations will struggle when one or more of the big tech giants are broken up, plunging those reliant on their products and services into disarray. Organizations may also rush to undertake overly ambitious digital transformations in a bid to stay relevant, leaving them less resilient and more vulnerable than ever.

You can find out more about the report on the ISF website.

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