Is safety an illusion in the cyberworld?
The threat landscape in cybersecurity can easily appear confusing, misleading and distorted. But there is growing consensus that corporations, the integrity of governments, and the very ways in which we organise our societies and individual lives are at grave risk from those determined to inflict digital damage. The world’s reliance on the free-flow of information, and plethora of instant collaboration and communication channels mean that ‘bad actors’ have numerous vectors through which they can operate, from the dark web to crypto-currencies. Inspired by the many innovations it offered, the founding fathers of the internet paid little attention to security. Similarly, many enterprises still pay insufficient attention to the disruptive effects of the new technologies, ignoring the fact, perhaps, that the ‘largest ungoverned space in the world’ is also its greatest theatre of anarchy. But if the threats are real, they must still be prioritised and understood before they can be managed successfully.
- What are the most pressing cyber threats facing us today and how do we keep pace with evolving future threats?
- Have we as a human race effectively abandoned all rights to privacy and security because we have embraced the internet and all its aspects so willingly?
- Can the ‘good guys’ ever play on a level playing-field with the ‘bad guys’?
- What are organisations and governments around the world doing to protect themselves and where are they most vulnerable?
Senior Lecturer in International RelationsUniversity of Oxford
Head, Cyber Defence SectionNATO Headquarters, Brussels