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My recent interview with Mark Byrne, from Cybx Security, covered a great range of cybersecurity questions, including new threats and solutions, Artificial Intelligence, DevSecOps, cybercrime, security impacts of Coronavirus, and the future of cybersecurity.
One of the most interesting points you made was regarding cyber crime, ‘the next billion cyber criminals’, and economically struggling countries. You also highlighted Ransomware as a service RaaS as being legitimately one of the most alarming threats. Could you elaborate on this?
The internet is adding about a million new users every day. With modern countries already having most of their citizens online, many of the new users are from economically struggling nations. We often forget that half of the world earns less than $10 a day. It is these new internet users in geographies that have few economic options that will be seeking ways to earn money with their new connection to the global digital ecosystem.
Cybercrime, like Ransom-as-a-Service is a perfect fit. It requires no technical knowledge and little to no upfront investment. Participants simply solicit victims to get infected, by opening a file, navigating to a malicious website, or installing a harmful application that installs ransomware. If the victim pays to get access to their encrypted files, the participant receives a percentage of the payment. Although unethical, it can be an economic windfall for people struggling to survive.
The risk we all face is that a percentage of the next billion internet users might willingly become an army of fraudsters for cybercriminals, unless we find a way to undermine the underlying motivations.
“Data will remain valuable; therefore, it will continue to be targeted by attackers”
The Cambridge Analytica scandal highlighted significant threats to privacy. Do you think this was isolated, or could we potentially see another case like this in future?
The Cambridge Analytica incident is not isolated. Data is the new oil. Every company collects it from customers in some way. Many businesses use it in ways that customers don’t appreciate, including selling it. Data aggregation and analysis is tremendously insightful and therefore big business. More data equates to more power. With new privacy laws and protections, many ethical companies are now downshifting their collection efforts to be more conservative. They are also showing flexibility in how they treat, protect, and share such data. Data will remain valuable; therefore, it will continue to be targeted by attackers and misused by unethical organizations to the detriment of society. The battle for privacy is only now beginning and there are many battles ahead.
I really enjoyed tackling such insightful and timely questions! The more we communicate, share, and collaborate, the stronger we become to make digital technology secure and trustworthy!