RSA Conference: Looking into the Cybersecurity Crystal Ball

Ariel Burch Novak

The RSA Conference this week brought together influencers and visionaries to discuss the latest trends in cybersecurity, and to look ahead at what the future holds for this always-changing industry. I had the opportunity to attend several sessions on-site at RSA Conference. Here are some of the top predictions experts shared on the future of the industry.

The Internet of Things (IoT) will continue to create security challenges

As I wrote about in a RSA Conference preview blog post, IoT is a very hot topic right now. And the presenter of the When Good Devices Go Bad session explained that security risks around Internet-connected devices will only increase. By 2020, there will be 50 billion connected devices, ranging from Barbies to luggage tags, and even the first smart cooking pan. The session demonstrated how easily these devices can be hacked.

In the Intro to Car Hacking session, the security engineers from Uber’s Advanced Technologies Center who famously (or infamously) hacked into and remotely controlled a Jeep last year, talked about how easy it is to hack just about any car. The ability for a hacker to remotely control your radio, steering wheel or breaks is certainly a frightening prospect, and as vehicles become more complex and Internet-connected, the security risks will increase. But, the speakers stressed that we shouldn’t stop buying cars or driving Jeeps just yet (good news, since I drive a Jeep!). Researchers are now paying much more attention to vehicle-related security issues and learning how to detect and prevent these attacks in the future.

Security Issues will Lead to Policy Changes

U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch talked about the fact that the emerging threat landscape crosses international borders and requires new thinking about governance and better access to data to fight cybercrime. Lynch said that America's tech sector represents one of the greatest repositories of innovation and ingenuity in history. And in light of the ongoing encryption battle between Apple and the FBI, she encouraged tech companies to continue to innovate, create, think and design but also to do their part to help the government fight national security threats.

 Foreign Policy Magazine Editor David Rothkopf also provided a big-picture look at how technological innovation will shape the society of 2020. He predicts that we are on the verge of a new Renaissance, brought about by worldwide connectivity to the Internet (in ten years everyone will have Internet access). Technology like Big Data will impact every aspect of society from education, to government, and new privacy challenges will emerge in this connected world. Rothkopf said the cybersecurity community can reduce risks by educating a new generation of leaders.

What do you predict will be the biggest security trends in the coming years?

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