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2015: The Internet of Threats and Other Things

So far, 2015 has been a mixed bag. Two traditional January events - the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas and the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland - that are usually bubbly, if not downright effervescent, were a bit flatter this year.

Why? Having been pummeled by high-profile security breaches in 2014, business and government leaders are all too aware that front-page breaches like Target and JPMorganChase are only a taste of things to come.

The Internet of Threats

At CES, the Internet of Things (IoT) was again a hot topic, as connected solutions really hit their stride. On the show floor, crowds thronged around everything from an Internet-enabled craft-brewing machine to an entire smart house. An estimated 25 billion connected objects will be online in 2015.

But IoT is not all craft beer and domestic utopia. In a speech at CES, US Federal Trade Commission chairwoman Edith Ramirez said:

“[The Internet of Things] has the potential to provide enormous benefits for consumers, but it also has significant privacy and security implications. Connected devices that provide increased convenience and improve health services are also collecting, transmitting, storing, and often sharing vast amounts of consumer data, some of it highly personal, thereby creating a number of privacy risks.”

Well put.

New and unexpected attacks

I believe that in 2015, hackers will continue to follow the path of least resistance as more IoT devices are connected to the Internet. During 2014 we saw some evidence of this emerging trend:

• Attacks on cars shown at the DefCon conference using electronic control units, or the Tesla car that was hacked to open doors while in motion • Attacks and proof-of-concept attacks on SMART TVs, biometric systems on smartphones, routers, consumer home automation and security systems, as well as webcams and Google Glass (RIP)

The Internet gets balkanized

As with the Target breach – where a third party monitoring Target’s IoT HVAC system provided the entry point of the compromise – vendor management and the supply chain will come under greater threat and scrutiny.

As a counter-balance to this, the Internet will continue to balkanize — with “gated communities,” various levels of encryption and privacy, and more widespread use of industrial-grade analytics.

Measuring risk

Meanwhile, at the World Economic Forum, Fortune magazine reported, “Cybersecurity is a top issue on the mind of executives gathered in Davos, Switzerland, this week, and some say it is stopping companies from making important investments in technology.”

The article further noted, “While companies have elaborate models to measure financial risks, and insurance products to help cover those risks, they have little ability to measure cyber risk, and little understanding of how to mitigate that risk.”

However, as FICO rapidly gains momentum with our new FICO cyber security solutions, we are confident that next year, the cyber world will be a safer place.

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