2013 was the year of deliberate data breaches: Sophos

Security vendor highlights the activities of whistleblowers as the key security issue of the year

Continued revelations around data breaches were the big surprise of 2013 for Sophos Asia-Pacific director, Rob Forsyth.

In particular, the year demonstrated how data breaches now come in “new flavours” and that big companies are not the only ones losing customer records.

“There were deliberate breaches initiated by the public sector, such as those by National Security Agency leaker, Edward Snowden, or WikiLeaks whistleblower, Chelsea Manning,” Forsyth said.

Forsyth clarifies that his surprise is not around the snooping, but the strong reaction by the public to the release of private information.

“For many, it is seen as a breach of trust by a number of governments,” he said.

The question is then whether things will return back to normal now that this knowledge is out there.

“As the perception of privacy evaporates, there will be an increased focus around strong encryption to ensure sensitive data cannot be accessed,” Forsyth said.

Power of the people

Cloud and Big Data have been at the forefront of IT industry in recent years, and Forsyth expects that the data explosion will not slow down in 2014.

“We could see the start of the tsunami of data flowing from the first ‘Internet of things’ applications,” he said.

By this, Forsyth is expecting new devices and applications to flood the market, offering services to both businesses and consumers which used to be “in the realm of science fiction” only a few years ago.

Although businesses marketing products to customers are expected to be early adopters of these applications, Forsyth foresees this changing relatively quickly.

“As the functionality offered increases, this will drive the power of the Internet of things back into the hands of the savvy consumer,” he said.

“This shift won’t just happen in 2014, but I think we will be able to look back and say 2014 was where it began.”

Patrick Budmar covers consumer and enterprise technology breaking news for IDG Communications. Follow Patrick on Twitter at @patrick_budmar.

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