The 2010 Cyber Threat Environment

The cyber threat environment is constantly changing and becoming more challenging with every day that passes. Malware grew last year at the highest rate in 20 years. Multiple security reports showed that more than 25 million new strains of malware were identified in 2009. Forecasts suggest that 2010 will again see unprecedented growth in malware and the trend is expected to continue for the foreseeable future. Not only will the cyber attack volume escalated dramatically, but the sophistication of malware delivery modalities will also become much more sophisticated and dangerous. In addition, social networking sites will become major targets of choice for cyber criminals. Past attacks on these sites have educated cyber attackers on how to successfully exploit user trust and just how to deliver malware that appears to come from social networking friends.

Today all those that use computers face an unprecedented collection of cyber threats. To address these threats, industry analysts have reported that U.S. spending on cyber security and information assurance will increase at an estimated rate of over 8 percent CAGR between 2010 and 2014.  These analysts expect the high growth areas to be in the following areas.

  1. Security Operations
  2. Identity Management
  3. Access Management
  4. Security Training
  5. Education, and Awareness
The year will continue to challenge security professionals and is expected to see continued increase in malware and cyber attack sophistication and effectiveness. New additions to the list of cyber attack vectors are expected to be a wake-up call for business, government and consumers. Many people I have spoken to expect new regulations to come from Capitol Hill for critical industries such as banking and utilities. Bottom line is that it will be an extremely challenging year for cyber security professionals. One thing is certain, this will be an extremely interesting year for the recently appointed White House cyber-security “czar” Howard Schmidt.

[EDITOR: At the request of Xilinx, I replaced the photo in this post.]

-- Kevin Coleman

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