ISNow – Coming Threats

The following introduction was originally published in the BCS Information Security Now Magazine, Winter 2009/10 issue (Volume 4, Issue 2), which was on the topic of Coming Threats:

“The start of each new year brings the promise of a bevy of unwelcome threats. Many will be variations on an existing theme, some may rely on the growth of a particular medium, and there could be an occasional new but predictable attack that leads us to smack our foreheads and wonder why we didn’t see it coming.

I’m no soothsayer, but I have a few ideas of threat-related trends we may well see in the coming year:

Business Change

The global downturn, recession, comeuppance for greed and risk ignorance, or whatever you wish to call it, threatens business. This could be through redundancies, liquidation, jettisoning failing companies and mergers, all of which will bring significant business changes that have to be managed securely, ensuring that critical business assets are properly protected.

Cloud Computing

Bringing together all the benefits and pitfalls of outsourcing, off-shoring, virtualisation, co-location and rapid application development. Great when it works, but when it doesn’t there may well be issues of legal jurisdiction, enforcing contract and audit rights, forensic investigation, data migration and so on. Make sure the cloud doesn’t become a basket to hold all your eggs.

Social Networking

Website, email and instant messaging wrapped up into one. Already allowing ready personal and business information leakage through to providing a new platform for malware distribution and botnet command and control, the social networking phenomenon offers unrivalled growth for interaction, both good and bad, which is likely to continue unabated.

I’m sure this only touches the tip of the iceberg, and we may well see more large-scale politically motivated attacks, new vulnerabilities in core internet services, smartphones get hit hard, growth in internet governance (read interference, control and surveillance) along with new ways to avoid it.

Happy New Year.”

A PDF version of the magazine is available online at:

http://www.bcs.org//upload/pdf/isnow-winter09_1.pdf