(By, Aiyappan Pillai, Founder, IEEE Member and Congruent Services)
Cybersecurity is a hygiene factor today and will remain so in a world with pervasive Internet and IT systems across Industries. It is the responsibility of all stakeholders in an organization, not just the IT security department. In B2C services end-users/customers need to play a proactive role. While service providers are responsible for enabling safe and secure services, end-users are responsible for security-conscious behaviours. As we move into a hyper-connected world and subordinate more and more tasks to machines, the degree of cyber-security consciousness will be a key determinant of success for any venture. Ignore it at your own peril. With AI & Machine-learning getting mainstream, cyber threats will be more potent. However, it will be a constant catch-up game between cyber-criminals/warriors and cyber-security systems. The age old security cycle of understanding threats, providing protection, continuous tests of the efficacy of protection and plugging the gaps will remain a constant, irrespective of whether it is the virtual or physical world!
The top 3 challenges for Cyber-security in 2018 would be-
- Creating awareness among users, especially the new initiates, about cyber threats as well as safe and secure use of the Internet/IT systems. This is applicable to organizations and citizens, thanks to the on-going mobile broadband revolution in India
- Having the right skilled resources to tackle current and evolving cyber threats.
- Malware – This includes the traditional types as well as those powered by machine learning, AI and analytical capabilities
From an India-centric viewpoint top 3 potential targets that need enhanced cyber-security are
- Citizens information repositories like Aadhaar and its linked databases, as it seeks to be the prime vehicle for inclusion and transformation of the lives of citizens
- Securing media & social-media platforms – it is critical to protect these platforms as they are not only repositories of identity-related information, but also are the central components for multi-factor authentication of users. Further, misuse of the power and reach of social media for dangerous propaganda and to foment discontent poses an ominous threat to society.
- IoT enabled SMART Infrastructure: As SMART Cities, SMART Grid projects get commissioned, they present a new territory for potential hackers, especially state-sponsored cyber warriors.