Cyber Security Threats - Past|Present|Future


Aug 22, 2017 posted by Jeevarathinam Ravikumar, Aarhus University, Denmark

DOI: 10.13052/popcas016 | Read[78]

The world is being digitised at an accelerated pace. Technology adoptation and automation have become the new normal due to cloud computing, high speed processing, being mobile everywhere etc. This article discusses about the impact of cyber security threats over the technology evolution that has been accelerating for the past decades. It also highlights how this new normal of digital era will be affected by hacking and other cyber threats.

Fig1: Cyber Threats Vs Security

Human nature of conflicts and threats
Few days ago, I was watching Julius Caesar theatrical drama at Stratford upon Avon. It reminded me of conflicts, conspiracy & security threats that are fundamental to the human society and is lasting for centuries and will last forever. Threats of the Past

Modern day cyber Security threats are not new and it is in existence for many decades. In the history, security threats have been in the form of disturbing the wireless transmission for jamming or decoding the codes, disturbing the telephony's dual tone multi frequency (DTMF) codes for phreaking etc. In the early days of data communications, I was involved in the design of anti-jamming, frequency hopping system to protect the 28800 bps data from the threat of decoding the data. Threats of those days are very limited and came from small group of underground communities which have been existing for years [1]. Until the mid-90s, majority of the businesses and personal communications were very much limited to voice and narrow band data hence cyber security threats were very much in silos.

Threats of the Present
Data communications grew to a massive scale with the easy access and affordability of broadband communications and wireless data communications during the past two decades. Communication protocols of today are very robust and rugged. Networks today are very modernised and highly secured. Why cyber security threat today is peaking? Data is dominating today from social media to banking to retail that has direct impact on almost every industry and individual. Cyber Security attacks have been largely targeted more on Government related or enterprise related to access country intelligence or trade secrets. Cyber-attacks are now spreading into individual devices such as smart phones, laptops, tablets etc as the value of data inside the user devices is valuable and that can fetch some commercial value. Hackers are becoming more and more commercial and these hackers have accessibility to materials over the web to easily learn to misuse the cyber security knowledge. More and more skilled hackers are getting into these anti-social community either for the pleasure or for commercial reasons. Hence, we will continue to see the raise of ransomware kind of attacks as well as the major infrastructure intrusion kind of attacks. (Key words: Wannacry | Adylkuzz). Latest statistics shows that 67% of world population is connected over the mobile (5 Billion Mobile Connection with 1 Trillion revenue) [2]. There are over 5 Billion devices or things that are connected over the mobile, WiFi and other wide area networks. World is becoming increasingly connected and these connected things are spread across all aspect of life that include living and non-living. The more we are connected, the more we are vulnerable to cyber threats but we need to embrace the new world of connected things and find new ways of mitigating the risk of cyber threats.

Threats of the Future
As a thumb rule of 1 human to 100 things, world will have over 500 Billion connected things in the next decade. Sensors will be everywhere from inside the house to outside the house, inside the car to outside the car, inside the human body to outside the human body, on the road to on the fly... anything and everything will be connected reaching towards the smartdust reality [3]. World of crypto currency, peer to peer connectivity with everything connected further motivate the cyber hackers and the threat shall be ever increasing... Preventing and Mitigating Cyber Security Threat

With the rapid advancement of technology innovation and digital transformation, cyber security technology is also advancing to a level to proactively detect and eliminate the threat of cyber-attacks. Application of artificial intelligence and inferences based on highly advanced cognitive skills will help enhance the immunity towards cyber threats. Continual machine learning will not only adapt to prevent cyber threats but also can predict different future potential threats and proactive preventive measures shall be in place accordingly [4]. Though there are different regulatory measures that are in effect from the various government and country regulations but it is also individual's responsibility to prevent cyber-attacks.

  1. Suelette Dreyfus, Julian Assange, "Underground: Tales of Hacking, Madness and Obsession on the Electronic Frontier", 1997, National Library of Australia.
  2. GSMA Infographic 2003 - 2017
  3. "GLOBAL SMART DUST MAY BE THE ULTIMATE INTERNET OF THINGS - Human interaction with Earth to be revolutionized with trillions of micro-sensors",, Sep 2016.
  4. Roman V. Yampolskiy, "AI Is the Future of Cybersecurity, for Better and for Worse",, May 2017.

Disclaimer: This article is purely based on the opinion of the author and does not represent the views of any organisation.