What will the 'mega security breach' of the future look like?

Security is an area that just keeps gaining prominence. The breaches keep hitting the headlines. And it is pretty clear that a horrific attack – that most people simply can’t imagine yet – is on the horizon. This means while it is not always helpful to focus on the negative stuff – it can be hard not to with security – and at least by looking at the worst case scenario it might help us confront what we could be up against.

At a December roundtable in London, Jason Hart CTO of Gemalto, highlighted the rise of integrity based attacks. These see attackers manipulating company data for their own benefit rather than simply stealing it. He believes that this will hit business reputations very hard and over the next 12 to 18 months [since December] at least one UK firm will fold because of it.

Andrew Nash, Founder and CEO of identity management startup firm Confyrm, who has a long pedigree with organisations like RSA, Google and PayPal, also attended the event. He focused more on identity theft but agreed that today criminals are more likely to play the long game than they did in the past.

He talked about blowout credit card fraud – where thieves sit on a bunch of stolen cards for months and months then use them all in one pre-planned hit – and stressed we’re going to see more of that mentality in data theft.  “If I was a [nefarious] nation state I would produce a cheap wi-fi chip,” he said, embed it in a wide range of ordinary devices, leave it for years and switch it on to scan things occasionally.

Overall though, it is difficult to pin security down because there are a few different types of criminals out there with entirely different motivations. There those who are simply motivated by the desire to steal things they can sell easily. There are those who are in for a longer, more lucrative, haul – maybe an identity theft or integrity attack. There are those who are involved because of some kind of political motivation – which could frankly lead to any kind of mayhem. And of course, there are those there for the LOLs.

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