By the A10 Networks Security Engineering Research Team (SERT)
In the 1970s, the Amazing Kreskin wowed audiences with his uncanny ability to see the future. Using suggestion, he’d make predictions. While Kreskin would stop short of calling himself a psychic – instead choosing to be considered an entertainer – his predictions often came true.
Today, we’re going to do our best Kreskin impression and attempt to predict the state of cybersecurity in 2018. Using our experience and understanding of the market as guide, we’ve put together 10 predictions cybersecurity next year. Without further ado, here are A10’s top 10 security predictions for 2018.
1. Digital security will become a basic human rights issue.
Today, mankind is highly dependent on digital communications. Mobile devices, laptops and the cloud have enabled instant and ubiquitous access to data for everyone. Cyberthreats continue to grow and affect enterprises and service providers. These threats also affect consumers, who are often the least equipped to deal with security issues. Phishing, fraud, identity theft and ransomware threaten consumers’ peace of mind.
Our dependence on safe communications is not unlike our need for clean air, water and food. Digital security needs to be treated as a fundamental human right. Without simple protection and assurance, people are at risk. They face significant hardships and monetary losses due to rampant security threats and issues. Before security issues take epidemic proportions, society must shift its perception and see cybersecurity as a fundamental human right. This will give businesses and consumers peace of mind.
2. A catastrophic attack will cripple, partially or completely, a major mobile network operator by targeting its core.
Mobile network operators today focus on protecting their networks from attacks originating from outside. They defend their networks using Gi firewalls and DDoS protection appliances. This is changing, however, and now we see that attacks can also originate from inside the network.
Mobile network operators are not properly prepared for such attacks, and the core of 3G and 4G networks is generally not protected. Come next year, a savvy attacker will target the right component and can bring down the network by disabling its brains.
3. Encryption will become much more important in east-west traffic.
As east-west traffic grows rapidly and more companies shift workloads to the cloud, sensitive data is more exposed than ever. This can result in theft and data breaches. Encrypting east-west traffic will be necessary to achieve security and compliance. We see this taking center stage in 2018 as use of encryption continues to grow as trust online dwindles.
4. City and state governments will experience more cyberattacks that ever before.
For the last several years, city and state governments have faced increasing volumes of cyberattacks. In 2018, it will reach a boiling point. As city and state governments continue to move to online services and leverage modern architectures like the cloud, budgetary constraints will dictate their security capabilities. Most will resort to best effort and underfunded security programs, increasing the likelihood of governments becoming targets. These attacks will also have a ripple effect in that they could expose citizens to more fraud and theft or exposure of personal data.
5. Serverless security and analytics functionality will become more mainstream for functions such as virus scanning, etc.
One area that serverless computing systems, like AWS Lambda, shine is in the triggered manipulation of data. In some security and visibility use cases, this is a key element of the transaction.
Within the next year, you will see these serverless applications enable pay as you go businesses focused on cybersecurity and malware protection. This will also enable scalable, on-demand analysis of infrastructure telemetry.
Triggered logs, flow information and packet capture analysis using serverless infrastructure will become more commonplace and allow small to mid-size businesses the same scale benefits and flexibility of large scale businesses due to the pay as you go model.
6. Cloud providers become a target by attackers looking to cause disruption.
As more companies move to the cloud, attackers will directly or indirectly target cloud providers. Just one look at the Dyn and Mirai attacks of 2016 show this trend forming, and it’ll reach a new peak in 2018. Corporations will have limited response capabilities to deal with their cloud provider being attacked, as they have no control over the underlying infrastructure.
This will cause more companies to look at a multi-cloud strategy to avoid putting all of their workloads with one cloud provider.
7. Adaptive and deceptive security products will become a top five technology.
In order to trick the bad guys, new technologies will emerge that will give security researchers and security operations the ability to predict an attack that is yet to happen. Predictive analytics will go from a nice to have to a must have, and corporations will have to invest these technologies to stay ahead of threat actors and protect their systems.
8. AI will be heavily used to power emerging security technologies.
While we’re not talking about full-fledged AI here, the rise of commoditized machine learning capabilities and chat bots being built into just about every new product will allow for human and electronic intelligence to be combined more effectively. Come next year, this will give security teams the ability to assess and prioritize security vulnerabilities based on more than just a single label, thus offering deeper protection.
9. Vulnerable SCADA systems and/or IoT will cause physical damage in 2018.
Vulnerabilities in Internet of Things (IoT) devices and supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) systems will lead to physical – not just digital – damage of some type in 2018. Hopefully the scale of damage will limit casualties to controller components. Unlike stuxnet and flame targets, IoT and SCADA devices are leveraging common open-source frameworks that are easy to fingerprint and hard to patch after installation, making them prime targets.
10. We’ll witness the rise of blockchain security technologies.
Blockchain will be more than just a buzzword come 2018. Blockchain technologies will be leveraged by many companies next year. Browsers will get native/experimental support and online identities to reduce the amount of anonymous transactions. By design, blockchain technologies are more secure than their predecessors, creating an online environment with tighter security and less anonymity than we’ve seen in the past.