2013 Cyber Threat Forecast Released

The Georgia Tech Information Security Center and Georgia Tech Research Institute recently released their 2013 report on emerging cyber threats. Some of these threats are fairly predictable, such as cloud-based botnets, vulnerabilities in mobile browsers and mobile wallets, and obfuscation of malware in order to avoid detection. However, some areas of focus were a bit more surprising, less in a revelatory sense and more simply because the report specifically called them out. One of these areas is supply chain insecurity. It is hardly news that counterfeit equipment can make its way into corporate and even government supply chains but, in an effort to combat the threat, the United States has redoubled efforts to warn of foreign-produced technology hardware (in particular, Chinese-made networking equipment).  However, the report notes that detecting counterfeit and compromised hardware is a difficult undertaking, particularly for companies that are already under the gun to minimize costs in a down economy.  Despite the expense, though, the danger of compromise of intellectual property or even critical infrastructure is very real and should not be ignored. Another interesting focus of the report is healthcare security.  The HITECH Act, which was enacted in 2009, provided large incentives for healthcare organizations to move to electronic systems of medical records management. While the intent of this push was to improve interoperability and the level of patient care across the industry, a side effect is a risk to patient data. The report notes what anyone who has dealt with information security in the healthcare world already knows: that healthcare is a challenging industry to secure.  The fact that the report calls out threats to health care data emphasizes the significance of the challenges in implementing strong controls without impacting efficiency. Addressing the threats of information manipulation, insecurity of the supply chain, mobile security, cloud security, malware, and healthcare security, the report is a recommended read for anyone in the information security field. The full report can be found at: