By Nir Gaist, Founder & CTO, Nyotron
2018 could not have gotten off to a worse start for information security professionals. The New York City cleanup crews had barely finished sweeping New Year’s Eve celebration confetti off the streets when we learned about Spectre and Meltdown. Nearly every CPU manufactured in the last two decades contained fundamental security flaws. As CSO’s Josh Fruhlinger wrote on January 15, “…the flaws are so fundamental and widespread that security researchers are calling them catastrophic.” If you thought Spectre and Meltdown were bad, brace yourself – I predict a significant new and previously unknown threat will arise in 2019.
This prediction may not be as eyebrow-raising as my other 2019 prognostications on the appearance of AI-powered malware and a devastating attack against a critical infrastructure facility because we’ve seen the signs throughout 2018 (and even earlier).
Cybersecurity Insiders recently polled hundreds of cybersecurity professionals ranging from technical executives to managers and IT security practitioners for its 2019 Endpoint Security Report. The majority of respondents reported an increase in the risk to their endpoints as the number of new threats, particularly fileless malware, advanced attacks and evasive threats, continues to rise. Despite the increase, many feel unprepared to thwart these new threats. Only half are very confident or extremely confident in their organization’s endpoint security posture.
The primary reason for this feeling of hopelessness, as I explain in my recent column for Information Management, is that the security industry still relies on historical data for threat detection (including training ML models on known malware samples). This leaves organizations across all industries vulnerable to unknown threats that security solutions (whether so-called traditional or next-gen) that rely on the enumeration of badness approach are unable to detect, and therefore, do not block. And many IT security pros understand they’re fighting a losing battle.
I realize my three predictions paint a somewhat dark picture of the cybersecurity landscape. No truly innovative security technology has received wide market adoption in the past five-plus years. As a result, attackers have gained the advantage as they launch increasingly sophisticated attacks against businesses, government agencies and critical infrastructure. I hope this will change in 2019 and security professionals will be able to focus on awareness, self-education and deployment of true defense in depth strategies.