Governance & Risk Management

Tougher Challenges Ahead to Secure IT

Technology as an Enabler for the Bad Guys, Too
Tougher Challenges Ahead to Secure IT
Steve Durbin sees technology as a threat enabler.

Nine compelling threats will make securing IT more challenging than ever over the next two years, says Steve Durbin, managing director of the Information Security Forum.

Durbin, in an interview with Information Security Media Group, says technology is becoming a "threat enabler" as businesses and society become highly dependent on technology to function.

"They're all in some way shape and form, I think, dependent upon or reacting to the speed in which technology is changing and really has taken over the way that we transact business around the world," he says.

Durbin points out that new technologies that enable innovative companies such as Uber, the transportation service, are being exploited by those who seek to do harm. "Technology, yes, is an enabler, but it's a disruptive enabler in that it's providing both the good and the bad," he says.

In the interview, Durbin discusses the findings of the Information Security Forum's Threat Horizon 2017 report that identifies the nine potential threats:

  1. Increased connectivity speeds present challenges to organizational response time;
  2. Criminal organizations become more structured and sophisticated;
  3. Widespread social unrest breaks out, led by tech rejectionists;
  4. Dependence on critical infrastructure becomes dangerous;
  5. Malicious agents weaponize systemic vulnerabilities;
  6. Legacy technology crumbles;
  7. Disruption to digital systems leads to verifiable human deaths;
  8. Global consolidation of organizations endangers competition and security;
  9. Cost and scale of data breaches increase dramatically.

Durbin says the report identifies three themes emerging from the threats: innovation is bringing new opportunities for business, but also malicious actors that seek to disrupt operations; a cyberspace congested with people and devices is becoming more complex, exposing the fragility of the underlying infrastructure; and organizations are too complacent, paying insufficient attention to threats concealed by international borders.

Business growth strategist Durbin joined the Information Security Forum, a not-for-profit association that studies IT security and information risk solutions, in 2009 after a three-year stint as chairman of the DigiWorld Institute, a British think tank comprising telecommunications, media and IT leaders and regulators. Durbin also spent seven years at the IT advisory service Gartner, where he served as group vice president worldwide.

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