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Cybersecurity: Keeping up with the threats

Nov. 26, 2013 - 03:45AM   |  
By KEVIN COLEMAN   |   Comments
Kevin Coleman is a senior fellow at the Technolytics Institute and former chief strategist at Netscape.
Kevin Coleman is a senior fellow at the Technolytics Institute and former chief strategist at Netscape. (File)
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The pace of technological advancement is difficult to measure, but one thing is certain: The pace has accelerated and is arguably at an all time high. Recent headlines such as “US Army robots will outnumber human soldiers 10 to 1 by 2023” and certainly the Internet of Things (IoT) demonstrate how advances in technology will have a dramatic impact on all of our lives.

With technological advancement, cyber spies and criminals rapidly adapt and develop new exploits and creative ways to conduct their activities. This rapid change is what mandates continuing education for cybersecurity professionals. Another change is the movement to build security into the design construct, which is slowly gaining momentum but is far from what could be considered usual and customary.

Here is an interesting way to look at and evaluate the cyber threat. Consider all the private and public resources around the globe that are assigned to cybersecurity research and development. Now think about how many malicious researchers around the globe are looking for zero-day vulnerabilities and new methods and cyber attack techniques. Now factor in that the salary for a cybersecurity engineer would range between $80,000 to $150,000, depending on level, industry and location, according to Jeff Snyder of Now consider that a zero-day vulnerability for a smartphone sells for up to $200,000 on the black market. With the only difference between a cyber weapon and a security testing tool being the intent of the person using it, one can easily see how technology practitioners could be exploited (willingly or unwillingly) in efforts to compromise new technology for good and bad. How many individuals would identify and sell a new zero-day for more than a year’s salary rather than report it to the appropriate company?

Another important consideration is the sheer number of people working on developing new and innovative cyber attack techniques versus the number of people working on developing new cyber defenses.

Given that as background, the future is foreseeable: More and unique challenges in cybersecurity will accompany the new technologies.


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