Cyber Experts Talk Trends

By Holly Gilbert Stowell

Companies are focusing on several trends in the coming year, including the fallout from government surveillance, new public-private partnerships, and the threat of cyberattacks.

The global economy loses up to $400 billion annually to malicious cyber activity, according to a 2013 report by the Center for Strategic and International Studies. In today’s world of virtual business, cyber companies around the globe are focused on solving the expensive problem of cybercrime to better serve their customers.

There are several trends that enterprises and consumers should understand to better protect their data. Several cybersecurity companies shared their thoughts with Security Management on the current state of cybersecurity and how the past year’s events have had an impact on the industry. The National Security Agency (NSA) surveillance program, public-private partnerships, and shifting methods of cybercrime top the list of trends.

NSA surveillance. At the opening event of the RSA 2014 Conference, which was held in San Francisco in February and deals in all things cybersecurity, executive chairman of RSA Art Coviello said in his keynote speech that personal information is the new currency that cybercriminals are after, and that governments have a responsibility to protect the information of their citizens. “Governments have a duty to create and enforce a balance that embraces individual rights and collective security,” he noted. “We as an industry need to do our part by developing and implementing the capabilities that secure those norms in the future.”

The NSA surveillance program and the global impact of the infamous classified document dump by former contractor Edward Snowden will resonate far into the future, according to experts, and will have a major effect on the way the NSA conducts its intelligence gathering. One particular discussion at RSA offered a candid perspective of the NSA situation from former government officials who worked closely with the agency.

In a presentation on Washington’s take on NSA surveillance, Richard Clarke, who served as special advisor to the president for cyberspace and national coordinator for security and counterterrorism for three consecutive administrations, unabashedly painted Snowden as a traitor. “What he has done is to reveal to terrorist groups and foreign governments ways in which we collect intelligence to make our country safer, and our country is less safe because they know the things that they know because of him,” he said. Even though the avenues of reporting suspected government wrongdoing could be improved, Snowden never attempted to go through the proper channels available to whistleblowers before leaking the documents, Clarke added.



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