T7: The Trend of Trends 2019
The seven best trend articles in 2019 . . .
For ISOs of small financial institutions.
While it may not feel like it yet for some of us, we’re well on our way into 2019, and that means it’s time for the last of our annual articles looking at predictions and trends in information technology. Previously, in Dan’s Magnificent Seven and R7: The Top Seven Risks pieces, we looked at several new developments of interest to information security professionals…along with new takes on more familiar subjects such as employee awareness.
For this year’s T7 article, we’ve decided to focus on those more familiar subjects that we have highlighted in years past, and look at how they’ve evolved since we last looked at them.
As we’ve said before in our previous takes on this article (in 2016, 2017, and 2018), it’s important to consider when reading these pieces whether they are discussing current trends or if they’re making predictions. While both kinds of articles can be interesting to read, we try to consider them differently: by basing tactical plans on current trends, and longer term strategies based on predictions.
- Open Source Vulnerabilities: When we first looked at this subject in 2016’s T7 article, we were worried about the ability of the community to keep tabs on all the code being written and updated across open source projects. Today we aren’t feeling that much better about the subject, considering how many projects utilize third party libraries that may not be scrutinized as closely as the rest of the project’s code. Indeed, we have already seen software packages that have been compromised by a change to a third party library, and experts expect such attacks to continue.
- Cryptojacking: Ransomware, another frequently discussed subject in trend articles, has started to take on a new angle–instead of disabling the systems of a victim, this malware hides silently in the background, siphoning off system resources to help generate cryptocurrency for the bad guys. This sort of attack is less obvious than ransomware, and may go on for much longer before being identified, making it a particularly insidious threat.
- More IoT Problems: The “Internet of Things” (IoT) has been making the rounds on our lists since around 2016, and if you think you’re tired of hearing about it now you may not like what’s on the horizon…The IoT market is continuing to explode, as more consumers get used to the idea of being surrounded by devices that are always on, always connected and always listening. One thing that doesn’t seem to be changing, though, is the lack of attention given to security in many of these devices.
- Encryption By The Bad Guys: For years we have been worried about encryption. It’s vitally important to what we do, but encryption is also a neutral technology: it works for the good guys and the bad guys…and both sides are starting to implementing it extensively. For the good guys, it means far more resources are needed to analyze network traffic, often requiring organizations to replace intrusion detection sensors and other devices with more powerful models.
- Cloud Security: The widespread adoption of cloud-based technology seems to have touched nearly every sector by now, and it’s continuing to present new challenges. With cloud technology, your network’s boundaries become less strictly defined and your data protection strategies should be changing to reflect that. With more and more storage and processing happening off-site, it is more important than ever to maintain security best practices.
- Vendor Security: What’s one thing open source vulnerabilities, IoT botnets and cloud security have in common? They’re all variations on third-party risk, and so it makes sense that vendor security continues to be a trend we’re interested in. After all, you’re not the only organization outsourcing: your vendors are likely contracting out for everything from data centers to offsite backups…and that makes for more things to keep track of when conducting your vendor due diligence.
- Authentication: Discussed in previous years under the heading “password problems,” the subject of authentication is our final evolving trend for 2019. Advances such as biometrics, two-factor authentication and cloud-based password vaults are being adopted widely–but their effectiveness (and security) are still subject to debate. Meanwhile, users remain frustrated with the process in general, which can lead to non-compliance.
This article is now a collaboration of several infotex team members. Original T7 article concept by Dan Hadaway CRISC CISA CISM, founder and Managing Partner, infotex