The dangers of forward progress

ACN's Alexander Pieri reflects on the 2017 and ponders the IT security challenges left in the wake of new technologies

Tags: Cloud computingCyber crimeITP Media Group (itp.com/)United Arab Emirates
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The dangers of forward progress Alexander Sophoclis Pieri, editor, Arabian Computer News.
By  Alexander Sophoclis Pieri Published  November 30, 2017

As one does at the end of another long and fruitful year, I found myself reflecting on all that had transpired over the past 12 months, particularly with the ACN publication, the stories that I covered, and the realm of technology.

During my retrospection, I was quite surprised to recall just how many announcements and major advances we had over the past year.

From the announcement of flying cars by UAE's Road Transport Authority, the utilisation of robots as customer relationship representatives, the embracement of blockchain and AI-powered processes, to hybrid cloud and increased mobile connectivity - our everyday lives are beginning to change quite drastically.

Of course, there are those within the IT security field that remain way of such progress for it undoubtedly brings with it new challenges.

The more and more things go digital and become connected, the larger the attack surface that needs to be contended with. The advent of Internet-of-Things for example, brings as many different angles of attack as there are devices connected on the same network ecosystem.

There are also new avenues for attack where an effective defensive strategy or even response has yet to be fully explored and established. Some months back, I discussed in one of my editor's comment pieces about the potential challenges related to robotics and its application within the smart home environment.

For example, the concept of robots assisting in the management of the household, particularly if they are connected to a smart home system, is the very model of what sci-fi writers would identify as the futuristic home.

Within this concept however, the robots that manage the household's cleaning and maintenance, will also become quite intimate with its contents.

Hacking such units may give cybercriminals access to personal data and behavioural insights, both useful in bypassing password-protected systems, as well as identity theft. The same dangers apply to robotics in the workplace.

While this example is just purely hypothetical at this point, there are some real challenges that will rise to the fore in 2018 in terms of security. Cyberthreats such as ransomware and malware will continue to impact the global economy, but just as IT security vendors have constantly upped their game, so to have the cybercriminals.

The really devious ones have begun to capitalise on the state of hyperconnectivity, leveraging the power of multiple compromised devices to form the basis of a swarm attack, as well as utilising automation and artificial intelligence to produce more dangerous and effective attacks.

Also a major challenge that will be widespread in the New Year will revolve around the lack of global IT talent, particularly within the security space. 

As a result, organisations across the world will need to consider bolstering their efforts in IT talent recruitment, while also putting the power of automation into play in terms of IT defense.

The bottom line here is that as we now enter 2018, while we should be excited about the new opportunities realised through technology on the horizon, we should remember to take the necessary steps in ensuring our security, as well as the security of those who rely on us for our products and services.

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