Last year, governments and corporations frequently experienced cyber security threats and discovered vulnerabilities that dominated the headlines due to global security risks. The year 2015 may also be a turbulent year for cyber security.
Not all digital attacks are driven by the same motives; motivations are divided into the three main categories of cyber attackers. Understanding who is behind these attacks can help the public and more specifically cyber security organizations navigate to solution more easily. The first category are cyber spies, often supported by nations or companies to steal valuable information that enable them to gain a competitive advantage. Secondly, there are cybercriminals who seek financial gain. Last but not least, there are cyber activists whose motivations are driven mostly by political or social affiliations.
The democratization of cyber skills may create targets that map according to geopolitical tensions, such as the protests in Hong Kong. As this threat grows, the susceptibility of industrial control systems underpinning national infrastructure becomes a concern. Beyond any geopolitical tensions, socio-economic trends influence the path of cyber activity – especially that of criminals. Criminal activities thrive in environments with large IT-literate populations and relatively relaxed law enforcement around cybercrimes. It is difficult to predict where these criminals will strike, but they are likely to choose targets in places with a high concentration of wealth and relatively poor cyber defenses.
On a more positive note, a trend which may also play out in the coming year is ‘cyber savvy’ companies and organizations who systematically adopt a more holistic approach to addressing cyber threat. For many of these companies, cybersecurity is addressed as a business issue, not as a technology challenge. Through gaining more information about the specific threats they face, they evaluate their own resources and update their defenses, in most cases preparing for attacks before they even happen. Many of the most forward thinking companies and organizations are accepting the fact that attacks are inevitable, and take proactive steps to ensure a safe and secure environment.
To combat potential threats in 2015, organizations and individuals must understand these trends and be prepared.