The year 2020 will have been a source of profound changes on several levels. We had to adapt our way of living, of exchanging or of working to the rhythm of health measures. The pandemic has forced companies to rethink the work environment and equip employees to continue their activities remotely. But the democratization of telework has unfortunately offered new opportunities to hackers who take advantage of the confusion and uncertainty to prevail. While teleworking has made it possible to save jobs and to keep some companies afloat, it is not without danger, especially in terms of cybersecurity.
Having advanced cybersecurity solutions is now essential to deal with the upsurge in online attacks and scams around the world. Recent security incidents linked to the launch of the COVID-19 vaccine have shown that hackers have no qualms and do not hesitate to directly attack public health. No one is therefore immune.
The world has changed and cybersecurity practices must evolve accordingly. How? ‘Or’ What ? Here are some tracks detailed by Charles Eagan, CTO at BlackBerry
The “Netflix” syndrome will force suppliers to differentiate themselves with security solutions based on AI and Machine Learning
Today there are nearly 6,000 different security solution providers. As companies seek to strengthen their defenses, they struggle to choose the right solutions due to the number of vendors and technologies and many of them are drowned in the constant hubbub of cybersecurity.
Even before implementing security solutions, companies must already face the “Netflix” syndrome. Clearly, when you log into the Netflix app, a huge number of suggestions of all kinds are presented to you so that you don’t really know what to watch. Your relaxation time is almost timed, so you don’t want to make the wrong choice. On the business side, it is not so much the time but the budget that is limited. They want to be sure to get their money’s worth and above all to make the right choice in terms of security. While it’s easy to “zap” on Netflix, it’s much harder to switch security providers, especially if they have a comprehensive solution in place.
The main challenge for security solutions providers is to keep the promises made while differentiating themselves from their competitors. This is why 2021 will be a year where the results will prevail. Rather than talking about how their solutions work, suppliers must above all prove their efficiency and their commitment to meeting performance standards.
It’s no secret that there are many businesses and industries that have struggled to survive in 2020 and many of them will be helping to build a “better normal”. Unfortunately, the threat hangs over their heads: there are more than a billion malware in the world that exploit countless attack vectors, all in a particularly tense pandemic context. Through a holistic approach based on AI / Machine Learning (ML) and supported by a data strategy, vendors will be able to help businesses cope and / or rebuild.
An effective AI designed to support human intelligence without replacing it
Increasingly present in all aspects of our connected life, AI is gradually changing the way we work and communicate. While changes are not always as rapid as expected, the phenomenon is growing. A lot of noise around AI has screened the potential of this technology in security and the few vendors who actually exploit it.
In a way, AI has become a victim of its own success. It is a trendy notion affixed like a slogan on products and marketing tools. However, in the field of cybersecurity, AI and ML are not miracle cures. But when these technologies are used appropriately and in combination with data science to design models and examine errors, they unlock unparalleled potential.
However, when a simple automation of manual tasks qualifies as AI, it negatively affects the perception companies have of it, especially in the area of cybersecurity. Most of the problems allegedly solved by AI are not as complex as the problems to be solved in the cybersecurity industry. Therefore, turning to AI is a good thing, but it is better to use the one that wants to be authentic and which, in association with Data Science, turns out to be a real strategic tool.
Contrary to popular belief, authentic AI reinforces human intelligence and is not intended to replace it. The incessant talk about automation and the rise of robots is completely irrelevant, and 2020 has reminded us of how important the human dimension is. AI cannot replace human intelligence where it is essential, that is to say in the prioritization of the problems to be solved and the definition of adequate change management strategies to face a pandemic for example. By using AI to perform redundant, low-value tasks, companies will be able to free up employees’ time to do what they do best: be creative, solve problems, run the business, and achieve their goals. of life.
Telecommuting: the story is far from over
The actors of the tertiary sector occupy a significant part in our economy and they are more likely to set up hybrid infrastructures to keep the pace and continue to work. These companies make significant savings, particularly in terms of real estate (rents, etc.). If the pandemic has given a real boost to teleworking, nothing prevents companies from maintaining it over the long term to maintain these same economic advantages.
However, teleworking can make businesses and employees more vulnerable to cybersecurity issues, whether they stem from unintentional human errors or follow malicious attacks. Suppliers here have the opportunity to prove that they can make teleworking more secure, especially since the number of connected terminals is growing exponentially.
Cybersecurity must be integrated from the creation of smart devices
During the development of so-called smart devices, cybersecurity is generally relegated to the background. Take the example of connected vehicles. Manufacturers are using more and more sensors (and therefore data) which make it possible to develop new driver safety features and improve their driving experience. When it comes to cybersecurity, there are as many attack vectors as there are functionalities. This is why it is essential for manufacturers to involve the concept of security from the design of platforms used in smart devices. In many cases, the data from the sensors is only useful – and safe – if it cannot be compromised. Cybersecurity must become a mainstay of product and platform development from day one, rather than just a component attached to the architecture.
Cybercrime and COVID-19 will continue to make waves
Scientific research around COVID-19 is increasingly targeted by hackers, whether acting on behalf of a state or on their own. As the pandemic rages around the world, this trend is unlikely to be reversed. In order for research to continue unhindered, the inherent threats simply cannot be ignored. Institutions and companies in the health sector have always been preferred targets for hackers, and cybersecurity must be able to protect them as the vaccine would with the virus.
Numerous reports indicate that malicious actors attempted to steal vaccine data from multiple companies and institutions in Canada, the United States and the United Kingdom. The recent announcements by the Pfizer and Moderna groups help increase the risk tenfold, especially since the candidate vaccines have demonstrated an efficacy rate of over 90%.
For vaccine manufacturers, logistical and safety aspects are real headaches. In addition, the intellectual property surrounding this research is invaluable, and there are many malicious actors who would stop at nothing to obtain this information and hold public health hostage. All eyes are now on the pharmaceutical industry and the various companies that intend to market their vaccines. Cybersecurity therefore has a vital role to play in the coming year.
Towards 2021 and beyond
2020 will have proved to us that Humanity knows how to demonstrate a fabulous capacity for adaptation, but it nevertheless remains vulnerable to sudden changes and uncertainty. Even if a return to normalcy is desired in many areas, some new standards such as teleworking will undoubtedly be lasting. Advances in technology and the adoption of AI will allow businesses to evolve and / or rebuild themselves in this new world. Globally, the technology and cybersecurity industry must continue to innovate to support the creation of strong and well-prepared businesses and public services.