Infosec 2020 – Coming Sooner Than You Think

Trend Micro has been pushing their Vision 2020 theme for some time now. The online video series  "2020" is the story about the near future based on an ICSPA report entitled Project 2020. Rik Ferguson is Trend Micro's Vice President for Product Research.  We spoke to him at RSA Conference 2014 about whether the vision of 2020 is coming true.

"The whitepaper had a lot of technical detail about that future and projections. Everything in there is pre-Snowdon. It was in the early days of the Google Glass Explorer Program. We're already beginning to see shades of some of the stuff we spoke about coming true," Ferguson said.

Augmented reality systems and heads-up displays, characterised by Google Glass are already with us and we are increasingly connected and interact with the world in new ways.

"You're no longer talking about compromising an individual, or hacking something that someone owns like a laptop. You're actually talking about hacking how they interface and experience the real world," he added.

Although this is a new threat surface for attackers it doesn’t mean more tradition methods used by hackers to compromise systems are going to go away. In Ferguson's view, they will actually get worse.
Fergus said "We've generated more information through more sensors, more cloud and more aggregation of data so more high impact breaches, like Target, will become more and more common."

Traditional crimes such as burglaries will also become more "e-enabled" as thieves start to use social media and other sources to find softer, higher value targets. Even the aggregated data coming from ATMs will be used so that robberies will target machines with greater payloads.

But beyond aggregated business data, individuals are also generating increasing volumes of data. Devices such as fitness bands, shoe sensors, heart rate monitors and others can be pulled together to build comprehensive profiles of individuals. The data from any single source, on its own, is not particular useful but when all that is brought together it can be valuable and criminals embrace big data analytics.

"Criminals always follow the commercial world," according to Ferguson. "They learn a lot form, for example, marketing. So, if you do a marketing mailout, you can measure which messages are more successful. Criminals are already doing that – they know what tactics are more successful. They'll be learning from how business uses big data as well."

Anthony Caruana travelled to RSA Conference as a guest of RSA.

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