The biggest risks for the security industry into 2021 are those that haven’t manifested themselves yet.
However, there are a few trends those in the industry should be conscious of as the COVID-19 pandemic has shattered our traditional perception of ‘normal’.
As we live with empty offices and business districts, home working, reduced community visibility of the vulnerable, in an environment of increasing polarisation both political and around civil inspired causes, with increasing global instability with Russian and Chinese adventurism, terrorist threat morphing and hostile state and criminal networks opportunism, the threat landscape is changing.
Isolation and lockdown give terror groups increased opportunity to groom the vulnerable, to motivate and train them to have them working to a more coordinated agenda when things ease. They lack oversight in communities because of lockdown and isolation and that terror is not just islamist, but also extreme right wing. The terror threat is growing through exploited isolated vulnerable individuals lurking like a hidden cancer.
Home working is giving cyber criminals and advanced persistent cyber actors so many more opportunities to research and properly target attacks, to exploit vulnerabilities that would never exist in any single controlled network and to steal IP, compromise individuals and datasets. Malicious cyber actors will continue to have a field day though 2021 if remote working continues as the norm.
The legislative foundation for the wider security community will likely develop dramatically in 2021 with the anticipated Protect Duty, or Martyn’s Law, being introduced. We will also probably see something to replace or amend the 1990 Computer Misuse Act to make it 2021+ relevant and discussions around a new Official Secrets Act to bring it into the 21st century.
We can continue to say with confidence, we live in interesting times.
Philip Ingram MBE