Cybersecurity challenges in 2018

By, Aiyappan Pillai, Founder, Congruent Services and IEEE Member

Cybersecurity is a hygiene factor today and will remain so in a world with pervasive Internet and IT systems across Industries. It is the responsibility of all stakeholders in an organization, not just the IT security department. In B2C services end-users/customers need to play a proactive role. While service providers are responsible for enabling safe and secure services, end-users are responsible for security-conscious behaviours. As we move into a hyper-connected world and subordinate more and more tasks to machines, the degree of cyber-security consciousness will be a key determinant of success for any venture. Ignore it at your own peril. With AI & Machine-learning getting mainstream, cyber threats will be more potent. However, it will be a constant catch-up game between cyber-criminals/warriors and cyber-security systems. The age old security cycle of understanding threats, providing protection, continuous tests of the efficacy of protection and plugging the gaps will remain a constant, irrespective of whether it is the virtual or physical world!

The top 3 challenges for Cyber-security in 2018 would be-
  1. Creating awareness among users, especially the new initiates, about cyber threats as well as safe and secure use of the Internet/IT systems. This is applicable to organizations and citizens, thanks to the on-going mobile broadband revolution in India
  1. Having the right skilled resources to tackle current and evolving cyber threats.
  1. Malware - This includes the traditional types as well as those powered by machine learning, AI and analytical capabilities

From an India-centric viewpoint top 3 potential targets that need enhanced cyber-security are
  1. Citizens information repositories like Aadhaar and its linked databases, as it seeks to be the prime vehicle for inclusion and transformation of the lives of citizens
  1. Securing media & social-media platforms - it is critical to protect these platforms as they are not only repositories of identity-related information, but also are the central components for multi-factor authentication of users. Further, misuse of the power and reach of social media for dangerous propaganda and to foment discontent poses an ominous threat to society.

c. IoT enabled SMART Infrastructure: As SMART Cities, SMART Grid projects get commissioned, they present a new territory for potential hackers, especially state-sponsored cyber warriors.