By Tim Critchley – CEO, Ben Rafferty – Global Solutions Director, & Shane Lewis – Head of Information Security

Every New Year brings with it an exciting array of technical possibilities. Many of these, just a few years ago, would have been considered futuristic and improbable. We have put our heads together to discuss the kind of innovations and technologies – in the security world and beyond – that we believe will develop during the coming year. The main themes we identified are:

  • Artificial Intelligence (AI) and machine learning look set to thrive. We predict a pronounced industry shift as AI becomes ever more integrated into the platforms and technologies we use in day-to-day life.
  • The world’s billionaires will continue their race to be the first to build reusable rockets
  • Electric, autonomous vehicles will revolutionise the way we all drive (and park) our cars, and will make significant changes to how our online shopping orders are delivered.
  • Other legitimate uses may even materialise for crypto-currencies which will spoil all the fun for the speculators.

Focusing on our own sector, we believe that cyber-security and data protection concerns will weigh more heavily than ever on organisations this year.

Overall, here are our big five predictions for 2018:

1) Mainstream breakthroughs for futuristic technologies

The rise of AI, robots and autonomous vehicles will progress at a rapid pace. Voice assistants and their interaction with connected devices and IoT will result in spoken commands outstripping traditional keyboard interactions for the first time in the home – and in business before too long.

2) Hackers will go into overdrive

Cyber criminals will increasingly use AI and machine learning to create automated attack systems that learn how to defeat security barriers as they spread.

IoT devices and autonomous vehicles will be the subject of DDoS (Distributed Denial of Service) attacks of ever increasing ferocity and duration.

Default security on most connected devices across the world remains weak. We predict, in 2018 another global malware or ransomware attack, similar to WannaCry, will hit the headlines simply because companies and organisations still do not adequately patch their systems.

3) Cyber security will become a government priority

Cyber security will become a consumer protection issue and governments around the world will be forced to regulate the connectivity of consumer devices in the same way that they do today for electrical connections and battery power.

In the US, we may finally see culpable senior executives sent to jail. The Data Security and Breach Notification Act will enforce custodial sentences for white collar crimes relating to data breaches. And if leaks in the US in 2017 are anything to go by – from 200m Republican voter records to 33m Dun & Bradstreet records – it could be a dramatic year.

4) The regulators will show their teeth

Some large fines will be imposed on organisations in Europe or the US as a result of a breach of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), particularly if an organisation fails to meet its obligations on transparency and covers up a breach.  That said, it is unlikely to be the 4% of global turnover often mentioned in relation to GDPR. Regulators such as the ICO in the UK will want to help educate industry on their new data protection obligations rather than punish them straight away.

5) The security skills gap will widen

The downside of the GDPR is that the need for organisations to appoint a chief data officer will draw many skilled security professionals away from the coalface and into compliance and privacy management roles, widening the skills gap for CIOs and CISOs still further.

All in all, we’re seeing an increasingly complicated compliance landscape that has to take into account the advance of technologies in the AI and IoT fields, along with entirely new sectors such as the crypto currency market. Regulators are having to race to keep up, but there’s no doubt that the GDPR in Europe, along with the Data Security and Breach Notification Act in the US, will make a huge difference to the security of customer data.

It will be interesting to see how the tech industry responds to these new challenges, but we’re optimistic that 2018 will be the year when organisations really begin to take information security seriously.

This article originally appeared on Information Age.

Secure Your IT Infrastructure: Why 2018 Will See a Deluge of Cyberattacks

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