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2019: the year cybersecurity becomes cool again

January 08, 2019

2018 has been the year of hacking the “cool kids.” Companies that once seemed untouchable to cybersecurity threats and equipped to defend themselves against malignant actors in the digital landscape, have been exposed in 2018. From Fortune 500 companies to prominent government officials, cybersecurity gaps have been detected and exploited by hackers.
 
In November 2018, Marriott International stated in a press release that the company had experienced a security breach on a database that held the personal information of about 500 million guests. And, in September 2018, Facebook announced that they experienced a “security issue” that resulted in 87 million Facebook accounts being hacked. Now that the coolest kid on the block is getting hacked, everyone’s paying attention. So, let’s make cybersecurity the “it” thing to do in 2019.
 
These unfortunate events have brought to light weak points in cybersecurity that need to be addressed to safeguard information, people and institutions, and now’s the time to implement them.
 
Here are some cybersecurity trends and threats you should be aware of in 2019.

Blockchain. Blockchain. Blockchain.
You’re probably tired of hearing it, but this “trend” is here to stay, and now’s the time to embrace it and implement it into your security infrastructures. And blockchain isn’t just about cryptocurrency or Bitcoin.
 
One prominent company using blockchain a little differently is The Boeing Company. Boeing employs blockchain for the manufacturing of aircraft. Aircraft assembly is a complex process that involves thousands of parts, and each of those parts are monitored and tracked in a chain of custody. Every part of an aircraft must work properly to avoid mechanical failures, so it is important to know where each component comes from and who worked on it. How can Boeing automate this process and improve their ability to track the chain of custody for one of a million parts in an airplane? The answer is blockchain. With blockchain technology Boeing holds the provenance details of each component, and then that information is released to the necessary manufacturing personnel and others in the company when it’s needed for the production process.

IoT
The Internet of Things has been in and out of the news of late. On the one hand it’s applauded for its current uses and seemingly untethered potential. On the other hand, its fast-paced growth is criticized for a lack of focus on security. Innovation need not sacrifice security, and this year there’ll be big strides in ensuring that security remains at the forefront of IoT innovation. But you can’t talk about IoT without getting into cybersecurity legislation and regulation.

Cyber legislation
In 2018, there was a push for legislation to put security mandates on IoT. In October, California became the first state to pass legislation that addressed security standards for IoT. Many believe this state legislation will lead to a federal response and established IoT security standards. Surely, we’ll see this developing legislative response in 2019. Until then, the U.S. and Department of Defense (DoD) have each published their cyber strategies.

Cyber strategy
In September 2018, the U.S. published the National Cyber Strategy, which focused on improving security efforts in the private sector. The DoD also published a more detailed Cyber Strategy that outlines 3 key tactics on approaching DoD cybersecurity:
  1. The DoD will ensure the U.S. military’s ability to fight and win wars in any domain, including cyberspace.
  2. The DoD will seek to preempt, defeat or deter malicious cyber activity targeting U.S. critical infrastructure that could cause a significant cyber incident—regardless of whether that incident would impact DoD’s warfighting readiness or capability.
  3. The DoD will work with U.S. allies and partners to strengthen cyber capacity, expand combined cyberspace operations and increase bidirectional information sharing in order to advance our mutual interests.
It’ll be interesting to see how these strategies are implemented across U.S. and international infrastructures. How will cybersecurity legislation evolve as each of these strategies are implemented? And what might cybersecurity legislation mean for the other side of the digital landscape—hackers.

Hacker evolution
Microsoft CEO, Steve Ballmer, stated it quite simply—“hackers get smarter.” As we develop new strategies and legislation and learn how to better safeguard our information and infrastructure in the digital age, hackers will also continue to develop their tactics. In 2019, we’ll see evolution from both sides of the digital landscape.
 
So, stay tuned for the need-to-know security updates across the digital ecosystem.