Cyber Security Predictions for 2017


Even the most dedicated of luddites does not need to be told how entrenched digital technology is within our society. The way we watch TV, manage businesses, control our finances and socialise has been rapidly revolutionised and will no doubt continue to be radicalised as digital technology becomes increasingly sophisticated.

But, along with digital innovation comes threat innovation. Viruses and malware may have been in our awareness since the early days of computing but we’re now entering a whole new era of cyber threats. When viruses first entered our radar, digital technology was an optional addition to regular life. Damage to files as a result of a virus was more of an inconvenience than a danger and the data that could be obtained was most likely to be of little value. Take now however where the line between ‘real life’ and ‘digital life’ is becoming increasingly blurred, and data is clearly of greater value than it ever has been before.

Obtaining access to bank accounts, naturally, comprises a large amount of cyber crime. However nefariously obtaining data can serve more than the obvious means, too. For example, rival companies, political adversaries and military opponents can all benefit from gaining access to their competitors data.

Evidently, data is the new currency of this era and the industry is on to it. Until now, on average less than 3% of capital expenditures has been allocated towards security but this is beginning to change. In 2016 security sales increased by 17% for Cisco and 18% for IBM. Likewise Obama has proposed to allocate $19 billion towards the nations cyber security. Over the next 5 years, it is estimated that worldwide spending on cyber security will exceed $1 trillion, and that average spending of capital expenditure on security will exceed 12%.

So, with more money being allocated towards defense against cyber threats what changes can we expect to see in cyber security over the next year?

One aspect of cyber security that has been slowly appearing over the last year or so is the use of additional or alternative methods of providing passwords. Think pattern based passwords, finger print readers on phones and computers or face recognition software. Once it may have seemed a thing of the future, but now it’s here and it’s looking as though it may be a more common way of replacing or using in conjunction with standard password-based access systems.

Another, albeit more subtle, aspect of society that is predicted to enter our awareness over the next year is introducing greater personal control of privacy settings. For many years, the more cautious among us have known to shred all items of paperwork containing personal information on lest it end up in the wrong hands. Yet, many of us do not pay the same attention to our online behaviour. Consequently, a large amount of the data exchanged daily is unknowingly left scattered around the internet ether ready for collection by anyone who cares to take on the task. This is a potential risk to personal security but also for cooperations when employees combine their personal actives with cooperate activities. It is thus anticipated that users will be made more aware of instances where their privacy is not secure, and users may also increasingly be expected to pass ‘confirmation’ walls in order to access pages where their behaviour may not be private.