Fragmentation of the internet: 2014 is likely to become the year when fragmentation of the internet will become fully visible. The loss of international trust in the field of global communications that has followed Edward Snowden's disclosures will result in the emergence of more cyber-borders and new parallel secure networks.
The new networks will be run by governments to protect their communications and national infrastructure from any sort of foreign intrusion. This will increase the security and reliability of cyber-infrastructure, but also siphon resources away from public initiatives and global internet projects and businesses, and ultimately possibly pose a threat to the very existence of the borderless internet as we know it today.
Smarter and more evolved malware: As technology gets even more portable and powerful, the continued evolution of mobile malware will be a big trend next year. This takes advantage of the fact that people have an increasing reliance on their phones and tablets as a place to store sensitive information, such as bank details. As the malware market continues to polarise, ransomware will also continue to increase, using the most graphic scare tactics to convince people into parting with money.
Mac operating systems will also continue to be targeted more next year with ransomware, malicious browser plugins, rogue antivirus software and a slew of other malware attacking the increasingly popular OS. Security software will have to stop being so passive in 2014. Proactive layers of security software are the only way to stop the latest criminal malware.
Marc Rogers, principal security researcher, Lookout
The impact of the internet of things: The ongoing development of the internet of things will continue to impact cyber security in 2014, as attackers now have more potential entry routes to sensitive governmental, corporate and personal data than ever. Mundane objects – such as thermostats and fridges – which were once completely unremarkable from a security perspective, have suddenly become the guardians of sensitive data, ranging from sensitive financial information to detailed telemetry about personal aspects of our lives.
In the post-PC era, we need to be looking at new approaches to security that use connected devices to form a network immune system. Through this, we have a chance to turn the asymmetry of digital war against attackers, and give the defenders an advantage instead.
Rob Stavrou, director of IT consultancy, Northdoor
Major organisational changes: In 2014, IT security breaches will continue to rise and organisations will consistently face growing numbers of sophisticated, persistent threats to their corporate data. Data is becoming more and more crucial to organisations and threats to that data will not be taken lightly.
Organisations will adopt cyber security insurance to help mitigate the risk of loss of data and brand – this will create an enormous challenge for insurers as it is very hard to predict the probable maximum loss. As a result, 2014 will see a significant rise in organisations undertaking assessments, audits and post-breach protection to ensure they keep on top of the threat landscape and potential weaknesses in their IT security defences.
Trust: Trust will be increasingly important next year if businesses are to take advantage of new opportunities to collect and use data to create more targeted, personalised, cross-device experiences for customers. The rise of dual-screening, wearable tech and smart devices are likely to give rise to new privacy challenges for consumers, businesses and regulators.
The winners in 2014 will be those that find ways to use new technology in a privacy-centric manner and are transparent about the data they collect, what they do with it and provide people with a way to opt out if they wish. Addressing potential privacy concerns from the start will not just increase trust with customers but will also be one of the best ways to ensure your business is well-prepared for any potential regulatory changes that may be introduced in 2014 and beyond.