BearingPoint’s Shashank Awadhut examines some key tech trends through the lens of cybersecurity.
While cyberattacks themselves are becoming more sophisticated, the rapid growth of emerging technologies such as 5G, robotic process automation and, of course, generative AI, means there are even more opportunities for cyberattacks and data breaches to occur.
Shashank Awadhut is a senior technology consultant on the advisory team at BearingPoint Ireland with more than five years of experience in information security governance risk and compliance frameworks.
“Evolvement of technology is directly proportional to the evolvement of security,” he told SiliconRepublic.com.
“Organisations need to be aware of a number of developing technologies when it comes to security.”
With this in mind, Awadhut has outlined seven major emerging technologies that will affect the cybersecurity sector in both good and bad ways.
AI and machine learning
Artificial intelligence (AI) is the development of devices or computer programmes that are capable of carrying out operations that ordinarily require human intelligence, such as speech recognition, decision-making and language translation.
Machine learning (ML) is a subset of AI that focuses on developing algorithms and statistical models that enable computers to learn and improve from experience without being explicitly programmed. In other words, ML enables computers to automatically identify patterns and insights in data and use them to make predictions or decisions.
Advanced security solutions, such as anomaly detection and threat identification, are being created using AI and ML and can assist enterprises in identifying and preventing security threats in real time.
For example, ChatGPT, which is built on an AI and machine learning algorithm, can provide exact solutions to its user instantly. In a word, AI is the creation of machines that are capable of carrying out tasks that often call for human intelligence. Machine learning enables computers to learn from data and generate predictions without having to be explicitly programmed. There are various security threats related to ChatGPT such as malware, impersonation, phishing emails and data theft.
Internet of things (IoT)
The Internet of Things (IoT) refers to the network of physical objects or ‘things’ embedded with sensors, software and other technologies that enable them to connect and exchange data with other devices and systems over the internet.
IoT devices are proliferating in the workplace and can provide serious security issues. Businesses must be aware of the security threat posed by IoT devices and take precautions to protect them. IoT devices often collect and transmit sensitive data, such as personal information or financial data. If this data is not properly secured, it can be vulnerable to unauthorised access and theft.
For example, wearable devices such as smartwatches and fitness trackers are popular for tracking health and fitness. However, they may also contain sensitive information such as personal identification data and health records, which can be compromised if they are not secured properly.
Smart home security systems allow homeowners to monitor their homes using their mobile devices. However, if these devices are not secured properly, hackers can potentially access the live feed and steal private information, or worse, gain access to your home.
Blockchain is a distributed digital ledger technology that allows for secure, transparent and tamper-proof transactions without the need for intermediaries, such as banks or governments. The technology underpins cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin and Ethereum but has many other potential applications beyond just financial transactions.
Blockchain technology is being used to improve security in various industries, including finance and healthcare. It provides a secure and tamper-proof way of storing and transmitting data, making it difficult for attackers to manipulate data. However, security issues such as hacking, fraud and theft of digital wallets remain a concern.
Quantum computing is a field of study focused on the development of computer technology based on the principles of quantum theory. It is different from classical computing, which relies on bits that can either be zero or one and instead uses quantum bits, or qubits, which can exist in both zero and one states at the same time due to the principles of superposition and entanglement.
Quantum computing has the potential to break encryption algorithms that are currently used to secure data. Organisations need to start preparing for the implications of quantum computing on their security infrastructure.
Quantum computing can perform certain types of calculations exponentially faster than classical computers, which can make encryption algorithms more secure by making it more difficult for hackers to decrypt encrypted data.
However, quantum computing can also pose a security risk by breaking existing encryption algorithms. For example, a quantum computer could theoretically crack the widely used RSA encryption algorithm, which is currently considered secure, in a matter of seconds. This could lead to the exposure of sensitive information, such as passwords, credit card numbers and other confidential data.
Metaverse is a term used to describe a hypothetical future iteration of the internet, in which virtual worlds and augmented reality are seamlessly integrated with physical reality.
It is essentially a shared, immersive virtual environment in which users can interact with each other and digital objects in a three-dimensional space. The security concerns in the metaverse are around protecting users’ personal information and privacy.
Since users will be interacting with each other in a shared virtual space, there will be a need for robust security protocols to prevent unauthorised access to personal information and to protect against identity theft and fraud.
Robotics and automation technologies enable machines to perform tasks traditionally done by humans, such as manufacturing and logistics. These technologies are expected to increase productivity, reduce costs and improve safety in various industries.
Robotic automation systems can be vulnerable to malware and hacking attacks, which can result in system failure or the compromise of sensitive data. Human error, such as improper configuration or operation of robotic automation systems, can lead to security vulnerabilities and system failures.
For example, a company can use robotic process automation (RPA) to automate its customer service chatbot. The chatbot is programmed to answer customer queries, process orders and provide product recommendations. The system collects customer data and uses it to improve the accuracy and efficiency of the chatbot.
However, the RPA system used by the company may not be secure enough to protect customer data. If the RPA system is not designed to handle sensitive information, hackers can potentially access and steal customer data, including personal information, credit card numbers and transaction records.
5G is the next generation of wireless technology that promises faster speeds, lower latency and greater reliability. It is expected to enable new applications and services such as autonomous vehicles, smart cities and virtual reality.
5G networks will increase the number of connected devices and the amount of data transmitted, making them more vulnerable to cyberattacks. Attackers can exploit vulnerabilities in 5G networks to steal data, launch distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks and cause network downtime.
5G networks rely on a complex supply chain that involves many vendors and suppliers. This increases the risk of compromised hardware or software being introduced into the network.
Shashank Awadhut is a senior technology consultant on the advisory team at BearingPoint Ireland.
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