Researchers from UC Berkeley’s School of Information tried to answer this immensely challenging question in their most recent report, Cybersecurity Futures 2020.
The paper explores how technology and security will be transformed in the uncertain and not-so-distant future. Briefly, here are five scenarios the researchers have envisioned for the next four years – to be taken with a pinch of salt, they say.
The new Wild West
As cyber-attacks become commonplace, everyone expects to have their data stolen and exposed online.
Cyberspace in 2020 is the new Wild West, and anyone who ventures online with the expectation of protection and justice ultimately has to provide it for themselves,” the report reads.
A war for data
Companies and cyber-criminals are after undervalued data, the new potential currency.
“There are two key assets that criminals exploit: the datasets themselves, which become the principal targets of attack; and the humans who work on them, as the collapse of the industry leaves unemployed data scientists seeking new frontiers.”
New cyber-security vulnerabilities emerge as data scientists will be able to predict human behavior at a very precise level.
“While this debate rages on in the abstract, these powerful predictive analytics will generate new security vulnerabilities that outmatch existing concepts and practices of defense, focus increasingly on people rather than infrastructure, and prove capable of causing extreme damage, financial and otherwise.”
IoT in full bloom
Internet of Things technologies become part of everyday lives, thanks to government efforts.
Hackers find countless new opportunities to manipulate and repurpose the vast network of devices, of ten in subtle and undetectable ways. Because the IoT is everywhere, cybersecurity becomes just “security” and essential to daily life.”
Wearables expose users’ intimacy and makes it vulnerable to tracking and manipulation.
“Whether for blackmail, “revenge porn,” or other motives, cybercriminals and hostile governments find new ways to exploit data about emotion. The terms of cybersecurity are redefined, as managing and protecting an emotional public image and outward mindset appearance become basic social maintenance.”