• October 18, 2001

Protect Your Web Data and Prepare for New Risks: Reports

In the tense weeks following the attacks of September 11, security has been on everyone's mind, both on a personal and corporate scale. An analyst report and an ominous think tank prognosis have taken closer looks at what companies must do to better safeguard their data on the Web as well as the top ten trends the future holds for high tech security.

In a report released last week, Jupiter Media Metrix found that while 40 percent of companies with an online presence were concerned with the effects an online security breach would have on consumer confidence, only 12 percent believed an intrusion would result in financial losses. As a result, most companies plan for very little growth in security spending, according to Jupiter analysts.

"There is a fundamental lack of understanding out there when it comes to the gravity of security breaches," said David Schatsky, Jupiter senior analyst and research director. "As businesses consolidate their enterprise data, it becomes easier for attackers to reach. Even if files on the Web server itself are relatively inconsequential, a hacker can reach through customer-facing applications to data used by other systems."

According to a Jupiter executive survey from July 2001, nearly 50 percent of Web site managers and chief information officers (CIOs) consider the sensitivity of their site's data as "low." The most recent survey revealed that although 29 percent of Web managers and CIOs believe the risk of an attack on their sites is "low," a third of these classify the sensitivity of their data as "high."

Jupiter analysts recommend that companies not undervalue their assets and keep abreast of the latest technologies in site security, both in-house and outsourced. Any business on the Web should be prepared for an attack, and those willing to admit that their data is valuable should be doubly concerned, according to Jupiter.


In a related report, The Institute for Global Futures today predicted the top 10 trends in the future of high tech security. The ominous but plausible forecasts affect individuals, business and government and reflect emerging and future trends in technological threats to society, according to the San Francisco-based think tank.

"These ten top trends are a recipe for how to prepare today for an extreme future where personal and economic threats will be common to our reality," said Dr. James Canton, CEO of the Institute for Global Futures. "New technologies may help protect us, but with a great cost to our privacy, while we deal with a new paradigm of risks never before imagined."

Topping the list is a new type of war the firm calls Economic Information Warfare, in which entire economies will be assaulted online on a global scale. The institute's predictions range from national genome-based ID cards to agri-terrorism and a new generation of computer virus that will be used by both sides of attacks.

Below are the Top Ten Trends in the Future of High Tech Security from the Institute for Global Futures:

The Top Ten Trends in the Future of Security: What's Coming?
1. Economic Information Warfare (EIW): consisting of sophisticated attacks against economies, commerce and enterprises will accelerate as a global threat.

2. Smart Watchers: a new generation of super-sensitive satellite and video networked electronic surveillance. Real-time personal face scanning/ suspicion profiling tied to supercomputers, sensory-aware networks and data warehouses will determine risks, provide prevention strategies and intelligence on neutralizing threats.

3. National Identity Cards: with embedded smart chips, containing an individual's entire genomic profile; act as secure personal identifier. Wirelessly authenticate an individual's location, security clearance level and identity to intelligent networks tied to government, transportation, banking, telecom and enterprises.

4. Pandoras: the next generation of computer virus attacks. Self-mutating viruses created to destabilize, confuse and destroy critical electronic infrastructures essential to industry and government. Used as offensive and defensive weapons by all sides.

5. Sniffers: designed to automatically sense, watch, search and identify individuals with critical information, weapons or bombs will have the capability to navigate physical, wireless and electronic realities.

6. Secure-Wearables: embedded, bio-reactive nano- chips with personal pin codes and GPS location monitoring. Assist in security tracking and recovery after kidnapping or theft.

7. Digitally Engineered Personalities (DEPS): personal sensors throughout the global telecom Internet network. Provide 24/7 follow-you-anywhere security protection for individuals, enterprises and governments.

8. Biometric Authentication: facial, eye, fingerprint and genomic scanning will be necessary to validate an individual's physical or virtual entry into electronic networks or physical areas. Security tattoos with bar-scans will be popular and fashionable.

9. Biowar and Agri-Terrorism: targeting the destruction of targeted ecosystems will emerge as common threats, putting at risk public health, soil, food and water resources.

10. Increase in Personal Privacy Violations: new laws required to protect and preserve individual freedoms.

The Institute for Global Futures

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