Dr. Jane LeClair By Dr. Jane LeClair • February 10, 2017

The Top 5 Global Forces Affecting Cybersecurity and Cyber Policies Right Now

Cybersecurity is too often thought of in limited terms: a personal computer or a digital system of a single organization. While both are accurate, they comprise just a fraction of the truth. In reality, cybersecurity is a global issue that involves vast networks on an international scale. And so there are a number of global forces that impact the security of these systems.

In our current technological landscape, there are a myriad of cyberspace issues that require further consideration as they continue to grow in size and scope. But only five critical concerns stand out and demand attention - and a solution - before it is too late. 

1. Theft of Intellectual Property

By some estimates the global loss to cybercrime is north of $400 billion each year. In the competitive world we now live in, these are serious losses that cannot continue to go on. Criminal organizations and state sponsored groups are notorious for hacking the systems of businesses and looting valuable trade secrets and plans for upcoming products. That information is then used to preemptively launch the product and gain the advantage in sales. International bodies, law enforcement agencies and the court system need to work in conjunction with cybersecurity experts to put an end to this practice.

2. Lack of Partnering for Security

For too long organizations have had to fend for themselves in the defense of their networks while, at the same time, seeking needed connectivity with their global partners. Working through international organizations, businesses need to share information on security and work toward developing a common framework of defense that eliminates hodgepodge defenses that are full of vulnerabilities.

3. Internet of Things (IoT)

A serious challenge to cybersecurity is the explosive growth of the IoT. By some estimates there will be 50 billion connected devices (things) globally by the end of the decade. This expansion of unsecured chip-enabled devices broadens the attack surface and greatly increases vulnerabilities to systems worldwide. International standards need to be adopted to limit those vulnerabilities.

4. Industrial Control Systems (ICS)

One of the greater threats to global manufacturers is the potential damage that could be done should state sponsored hackers gain access to the ICS of their operations. Historically these systems have been ‘air-gapped’ to prevent intrusion, but that has been eroded as systems have become more and more integrated and hackers have developed measures around that defense. Global organizations need to upgrade their systems and partner with like businesses to develop more effective cyber defenses. 

5. Expansion of Third World

The internet is a necessity for the economic development of an emerging nation and global organizations are seeking to get into this growth. Google for example is investing $1 billion in ‘Project Loon’ in an effort to bring the internet to emerging nations. With the growth of the internet in these nations also comes cybersecurity issues that need to be addressed if economic success is to be attained.

While cybersecurity can be thought of in limited scope, it is truly an international issue. Emerging nations, international organizations and digital systems right here in the U.S. need to be concerned with issues related to cybersecurity on a global scale. We are a connected world and for the security of our enterprises we need to all work together in developing effective defenses against those with malicious intent.

Dr. Jane LeClair

Written by Dr. Jane LeClair

Dr. Jane LeClair is the president of the Washington Center for Cybersecurity Research and Development, and consults on cybersecurity programming at the University. She has previously served as the Chief Operating Officer for the National Cybersecurity Institute and dean of the School of Business and Technology at Excelsior College. Dr. LeClair holds an MS in Cybersecurity and an EdD in Adult Education.

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