What will the field of cybersecurity look like in the next 10 years? originally appeared on Quora: the place to gain and share knowledge, empowering people to learn from others and better understand the world.
The future of cybersecurity is tightly connected to the future of information technology and the advancements of the cyberspace. While I personally have never taken the liberty of predicting the future, it is clear that the role of cyber will become even larger in our personal and business lives.
The complexity and connectivity of these systems directly impacts their level of vulnerability. Some people would argue that in order to protect our systems, we need to understand the hackers’ motive. I don’t think that there’s one motive.
In the coming ten years, nation sponsored organizations will continue to develop cyber-attack technologies for defense and offense; financially driven criminal groups will continue to seek ways to monetize cyber-attacks; hacktivists will continue to use cyber to convey their messages; terrorist groups will also shift to cyber space; and finally – people with no apparent motive, who seek to demonstrate their technical skills, will continue “contributing” to the attacker ecosystem.
Another challenge we will encounter in cyber defense is that, unlike the physical world where we kind of know who our potential adversaries are and what “weapons” they use, in cyber space anyone could be our enemy. We are accessible from every point of the globe, and it was already demonstrated that any attacker can have access to “strategic weapons” that don’t require the infrastructure or the cost of conventional weapons. Last but not least, many cyber-attacks are run automatically by “bots” that scan the entire network and find the weakest spot, so we won’t need to look like an “attractive target”. We simply need to have a vulnerable point. Yes, we are all targets.
Cyber security defense systems will need to become more sophisticated in order to cope with huge amounts of data. First, we will need to interconnect our defense systems to be able to act in real time. For example, our network gateway will need to share information with our personal devices. Second, the human analyst will not be able to cope with all this information and we will rely on more artificial intelligence to help us in making decisions. We will also need to cultivate the next generation of cyber experts who know how to develop and drive those systems. New professions and domain expertise will be formed. Last but not least, we will need to shield all our systems. Countries and states will have a bigger role in protecting large scale environments like their own infrastructure (power grids, water supply, traffic control and frankly – everything around us), and maybe even to provide some of their intelligence to the public. Large corporations will need to guard their data on their own servers, on their cloud servers, on our personal computers, and even on our mobile devices. We can have the most secure data center, but if our data leaks through a cloud provider or a mobile device, we are just as vulnerable.
So overall, we will see systems that are smarter, sophisticated, able to handle large populations and large amounts of data, systems that can update themselves rapidly, that can take decisions in real time and that connect to shared-intelligence centers that will keep us guarded.
Finally, as far as the general public is concerned, I believe that keeping ourselves cyber secure will become as commonplace as maintaining our physical safety. If today we all know to lock our doors at night, put on our seatbelts when driving, and use a helmet when hopping on our motorbikes, in ten years from now the same level of awareness will be given to ensure we are also digitally secure.
This question originally appeared on Quora – the place to gain and share knowledge, empowering people to learn from others and better understand the world. You can follow Quora on Twitter, Facebook, and Google+. More questions:
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