The cybersecurity landscape of 2017 is insane.
Attacks are happening simultaneously and industries are getting disrupted. There’s the contagious WannaCry and the deadly Petya that decimated an entire country. To counter that, sophisticated cybersecurity measures are getting developed at a rapid pace, making a scenario somewhat like a war — a cybersecurity war.
With that in mind, here are the five key players of today’s Game of Cybersecurity:
1. The Innovators
They spearhead everything in the digital age. People with the might, intelligence, and resources to shape the world and technology according to their will. Innovators steer the course of digital transformation and thus influence cybersecurity (and the need for it) across all fronts of the digital frontier.
There were a lot of innovators in the past decade. Microsoft for example, spearheaded the accessibility of operating systems through Windows, which disrupted the industry and gave birth to most of the technology and frameworks we know today.
Innovators bring disruption to the field they enter. Netflix, Uber, and even Facebook are some examples of innovators that are now playing a huge part in today’s digital landscape. Each step towards digital transformation presents a risk on cybersecurity. Innovation is like a game of chess: each move we make in digital transformation opens new entry points for cyberattacks and innovators control the flow of the board.
2. The Users
These are the people who benefit from what the innovators do. If the innovators are the spearhead, they are the spear. They are the entire reason for innovation and technological advancement. Innovation is just imagination without people using it. They make up most of the battlefield’s population and are the target of both cyberattackers and cybersecurity.
Users are made up of everyone (from workers to decision makers) and thus wield a lot of influence in the cybersecurity battlefield. A quick glance at WannaCry and Mirai for example will highlight that their targets are everyday users. Mirai targets everyday items found in houses to create a botnet that serves as a reliable channel for attacks.
Their diversity and sheer number opens a lot of opportunities across all fields. Developments take place using big data gathered from their behavior while the other side of the coin deals with exploiting vulnerabilities to launch global scale disruptive attacks.
3. The Guardians
These are the governing bodies and deterrents of technological abuse. These are your cybersecurity agents and solutions that safeguard the usage of technology and serve as the first wall against technology’s potential harms. A good example is Microsoft’s Digital Crimes Unit (DCU) that safeguards every Microsoft platform like Office 365 and Azure from exploitation. Government units and independent organizations also make a huge bulk of the guardians. Partners like Tech One Global can also be considered as a guardian because it provides accessibility for enterprise solutions and allows the users and innovators to meet halfway.
The guardians are the number one protection against cybersecurity attacks. They update themselves and adjust to whatever attackers throw at them. Imagine a world without anti-virus or secured solutions like Office 365. Imagine a world without solutions that backup your documents like Enadoc.
Might as well live in the stone age, right?
4. The Attackers
These are your hackers, crackers, and ransomware developers. People who exploit technology to achieve a selfish goal, the polar opposite of the guardians and innovators. The attackers develop strategies to exploit existing technologies, be it hardware or software. They are the prime antagonist of the cybersecurity war. Their motives are very diverse: some do it for profit while some do it for the sheer thrill of cracking systems open.
Attackers pose a threat to humanity considering how far they’ve come and how much influence they wield today in the overall digital transformation landscape. From the infamous ILOVEYOU virus, which garnered the attention of the world for the first time up to the recent innovative Mirai that targets everyday connected items in your household. The scope of cyberattacks is just getting bigger and bigger.
The only positive side of it is that they challenge the innovators and the guardians to develop better strategies for cybersecurity.
Two sides of the same coin.
5. The Technology
The newest key player — with AI and machine learning now being rampant — technology itself is starting to show its own independence. Analytics and big data are now autonomous in terms of harnessing and processing information and are now capable of influencing the decisions of key players across the whole battlefield.
Innovators and guardians rely on it for their next developments; attackers rely on it to choose the next target, while users rely on it across all fronts of digital transformation. With machines getting smarter every day, it’s only a matter of time before they become the biggest influencer not only in cybersecurity but in the overall digital transformation of a cloud-first, mobile-first world.
Which player are you? (We hope it’s not the attacker). Subscribe to us at Tech One Global and let us hear your thoughts.