Tags: Pew | cyber | Internet | attack

Pew Research: Internet Experts Expect Cyberattacks Will Explode

By    |   Tuesday, 04 November 2014 01:25 PM

Expect cyberattacks from nations, rogue groups and malicious individuals to proliferate during the next decade, experts say.

Of the 1,642 Internet and technology experts canvassed by Pew Research Center, 61 percent believe a major cyberattack will create widespread harm, causing losses in the tens of billions of dollars, by 2025.

Experts agree the Internet's pervasiveness and importance exposes businesses, government agencies and ordinary people to new dangers.

"Connectedness begets vulnerability," says Jay Cross, chief scientist at Internet Time Group, summarizing feelings of the group.

Most agree that businesses will be under persistent attacks and individuals will be even more vulnerable. Many say essential utilities are among the most vulnerable targets. Terrorists and rebels around the world will launch attacks against governments and entrenched institutions, and cyberwars between nations is a possibility. Many say that's already happening.

Chinese military officials have been accused of hacking U.S. targets, and Russian hackers allegedly used a flaw in Microsoft Windows to spy on opponents. The U.S. Defense Department, for its part, has built a Cyber Command capable of defensive and offensive operations.

"Cyberwar is the battlefield of now. Don't kid yourself," says Geoff Livingston, author and president of Tenacity5 Media. "The Pentagon and China’s military are regularly engaged in digital spats."

Mutually assured destruction, much like the possibility of mutual annihilation during the Cold War, might keep competing nations from being too aggressive, some predict. Sill, the cyber arms race will intensify and spread.

The increasing use of the Internet to control homes and appliances will create even more vulnerabilities.

"The Internet of Things is just emerging. In the future, control of physical assets, not just information, will be open to cyberattack," warns activist Internet user Tim Kambitsch in his survey response.

Instead of fighting back, businesses and governments will become resigned to accepting costs of attacks, predicts Jeremy Epstein, a senior computer scientist with the National Science Foundation. The private sector will accept losses as just another cost of business, perhaps passing on costs to taxpayers through government subsidies, and the government will be unable to defend itself due to political gridlock and bureaucratic inertia.

The average cost of data breaches increased 15 percent last year to $3.5 million, according to a Ponemon Institute study of 314 companies in 10 countries. Only 38 percent of the companies have a strategy to protect their IT infrastructure.

The most costly attacks occurred in the U.S. and Germany and the most costly types of breaches were cause by malicious and criminal attacks.

"Clearly, malicious insiders and criminal attacks are a growing concern for businesses, especially when we consider how persistent data has become in the age of cloud and mobility," says Kris Lovejoy, general manager of IBM Security Services Division.

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Expect cyberattacks from nations, rogue groups and malicious individuals to proliferate during the next decade, experts say.
Pew, cyber, Internet, attack
Tuesday, 04 November 2014 01:25 PM
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