2018: Grab your crystal balls or consult the oracle

Welcome to the start of 2018, when the crystal balls come out and start predicting the year ahead. Will Manchester City win the title by March? Will Nostradamus’ assumption that we’re heading to World War 3 take place (queue the President in the red tie!)? Or will the Kardashians finally become less shy and start engaging with the public!? I’m definitely not the Oracle, however, I believe these are the main predictions to impact cybersecurity in 2018.

2018: Grab your crystal balls or consult the oracle

If you have Got Data Protect it Regularly

I know that this isn’t the actual acronym for GDPR, but I think it gets the point across well. We all know that GDPR is going to create waves of change when it’s introduced in May. The majority of companies I have spoken to have everything in place and should be prepared for the new legislation. According to CSO online, they predict that US companies will not meet the compliance regardless of where their data is stored. It is also likely that GDPR regulators will make a big example of a large company, EU or US-based, to make sure everyone knows that they are on the hunt and have a zero-tolerance policy. 

Toasters, aquariums and Tesla hacks

Our world is becoming further connected on a daily basis; you can control everything from a car to a kettle through IoT and with a lack of regulation around these devices there’s always going to be potential issues. According to Forbes, IoT vulnerabilities will get more critical and more dangerous. Hacking and breaches through these devices will become more commonplace. 2017 already showed us how devices such as child’s toy, heart monitors and aquariums can all become compromised allowing access to networks. Now with more companies using IoT products and services internally, it’s only a matter of time before a fridge provides a portal to critical infrastructure.

Do you want to pay cash, card or Bitcoin?

Pretty certain that the majority of the world wouldn’t have heard of Bitcoin or other cryptocurrencies before last year. The phenomenon has definitely seen a massive boom over 2017, however, will the bubble burst in 2018? According to Checkpoint, they see this year as being the year when cryptocurrencies will finally become regulated. A lot of ransomware now asks for Bitcoin as a payment method to release encrypted files and with cryptocurrency also being used heavily on the Dark Web, it’s only a matter of time before governments get involved. When South Korea announced they were looking to regulate cryptocurrency more than $200 billion was wiped off the value of global cryptocurrencies. If other countries follow suit, then 2018 could become the year the bubble pops.  


Ransomware and breaches go into hyperdrive.

It wouldn’t be an article without a quick nod to Star Wars, would it? The majority of predictions I’ve seen have highlighted how ransomware and breaches are going to get bigger and 'badder'; pretty easy assumption to make as they’ve been increasing year-on-year in terms of scale and damage but the team at InfoSecurity Magazine have made some interesting predictions. According to the research team at Webroot, they are predicting the first ransomware to target health-related equipment such as pacemakers instead of someone’s bank account. InfoSecurity Magazine also thinks that breaches are going to get worse, more than likely looking breaches in critical infrastructure rather than targeting company data. We saw how quickly and easily WannaCry affected the NHS in 2017. I can see large scale attacks with similar properties going after nuclear or defence infrastructures this year.

Autobots assemble!

In the middle of last year, I wrote an article on the emergence of AI within Cyber Security and I think this will feature quite heavily in the majority of the predictions for 2018. It’s been shown that AI technologies can become the best technology to combat breaches and respond to threats. However, it’s also been mentioned that if we can defend using AI technologies, then it’s pretty certain that hacking groups will start to utilise AI for their breaches. Then it all comes down to which technology will defeat the other; will the Optimus Primes of the world defeat Megatron? 

If all of these predictions come true then I would probably start my National Lottery subscription back up. However, we all know that these are subjective and usually predictions don’t happen the way we think (another reference to the red tie wearing President!).

I am interested to find out what you think. What are your predictions for the year ahead? Is there anything we can do to combat them?

Feel free to comment, share your views, and shoot me down like you’re playing Duck Hunt (other retro games are available but not appropriate as a reference!)   

About the author

Jon Stock.jpgJonathan Stock is our Information Security Recruitment Consultant. If you liked this article check out Jon’s other pieces here including:

Just keep plugging, just keep plugging: A view on the cybersecurity skills shortage

Password security: It's like sellotaping your house key to the front door...

Cybersecurity and IoT: The rise of the Hackers


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