BAE Sys­tems’ top five pre­dic­tions for 2015


Based on its work this year in the fields of cy­ber se­cu­rity and fi­nan­cial crime, BAE Sys­tems Ap­plied In­tel­li­gence be­lieves the fol­low­ing will be the top five pre­dic­tions for the dig­i­tal crim­i­nal­ity land­scape in 2015.

Chal­lenges in De­tec­tion as Cy­ber Crime Gets Frag­mented

The past five years have seen an in­creas­ing in­dus­tri­al­i­sa­tion of the cy­ber crim­i­nal mar­ket­place. Spe­cialisms such as mal­ware au­thor­ing, counter-AV testing, ex­ploit kits, spam­ming, host­ing, mon­ey­mul­ing, and card cloning are be­com­ing minia­ture mar­kets of their own. Crime as a ser­vice is a re­al­ity, low­er­ing the bar­rier to en­try for bud­ding crim­i­nals and fu­elling the grow­ing threat, year af­ter year.

“Law en­force­ment ac­tion has done well to date by fo­cus­ing on the big prob­lem sets and caus­ing sig­nif­i­cant dis­rup­tion to th­ese ac­tiv­i­ties. In 2015, BAE Sys­tems Ap­plied In­tel­li­gence an­tic­i­pates th­ese ef­forts will cause a frag­men­ta­tion in the mar­ket as crim­i­nal ac­tors split into smaller units us­ing newly de­vel­oped and more re­silient ca­pa­bil­i­ties. We be­lieve this will present a greater chal­lenge for the se­cu­rity com­mu­nity. We also see the need for law en­force­ment to find ways to drive ef­fi­ciency and au­to­ma­tion into their in­tel­li­gence col­lec­tion and anal­y­sis work streams. This should en­able them to ramp up the num­ber of si­mul­ta­ne­ous in­ves­ti­ga­tions and make dis­rup­tion a ‘busi­ness as usual’ ac­tiv­ity,” said Scott McVicar, Man­ag­ing Direc­tor, Cy­ber Se­cu­rity, BAE Sys­tems Ap­plied In­tel­li­gence.

Pe­riod of ‘Hy­per Reg­u­la­tion’

In the con­text of mil­lions of dol­lars in fines, fi­nan­cial in­sti­tu­tions now have an im­per­a­tive to ac­tively search out crim­i­nals such as money laun­der­ers, rather than sim­ply be­ing com­pli­ant with reg­u­la­tory guid­ance. We be­lieve more or­gan­i­sa­tions will hire big hit­ters from the law en­force­ment and na­tional se­cu­rity world to show they are se­ri­ous about stop­ping the crim­i­nals. Or­gan­i­sa­tion­ally, we will see con­tin­ued ef­forts to re­move si­los be­tween Risk, Com­pli­ance and In­for­ma­tion Se­cu­rity de­part­ments, a con­tin­u­ing move to­wards th­ese de­part­ments to work more closely to­gether, and re­quire­ments for com­bined de­tec­tion ca­pa­bil­i­ties. From an op­er­a­tional per­spec­tive, join­ing-up in­ves­tiga­tive ca­pa­bil­i­ties to de­velop a sin­gle in­tel­li­gence plat­form across the en­ter­prise will be in­creas­ingly key. This will be com­bined with the de­ploy­ment of in­te­grated case man­age­ment for all forms of fi­nan­cial crime across all fi­nan­cial in­sti­tu­tions.

Next Industrial Revo­lu­tion

One of the most dis­rup­tive forces in the com­ing gen­er­a­tion will be the growth in in­ter­con­nec­tiv­ity of ma­chines, data and peo­ple. Known as the ‘In­ter­net of Things’ (IoT) or the ‘In­ter­net of Ev­ery­thing’ (IoE), this dis­rup­tion is ex­pected to bring us the next industrial revo­lu­tion whereby au­to­ma­tion and or­ches­tra­tion of many tasks in man­u­fac­tur­ing, re­tail, trans­port and the home lead to greater ef­fi­ciency and mas­sive pro­duc­tiv­ity gains. Lit­tle stands in the way of this ad­vance in tech­nol­ogy; how­ever se­cu­rity pro­fes­sion­als are al­ready voic­ing con­cern about both the sys­tem­atic risks of greater con­nec­tiv­ity, as well as the risks to life with ma­chines such as cars and med­i­cal equip­ment be­com­ing part of the con­nected world.

“We an­tic­i­pate that 2015 will see in­creased fo­cus on build­ing in se­cu­rity from the start for the next industrial revo­lu­tion; se­cu­rity pro­fes­sion­als will be tasked with find­ing so­lu­tions for pro­tect­ing crit­i­cal sys­tems and na­tional scale in­fra­struc­ture. They will look at tech­niques such as seg­ment­ing high value sys­tems away from high risk ac­tiv­ity whilst re­tain­ing con­nec­tiv­ity and trusted data flows. With a broader attack sur­face we ex­pect that crim­i­nals, ac­tivists and spies will con­tinue to pen­e­trate net­works. Lim­it­ing po­ten­tial im­pact whilst en­abling the myr­iad of ad­van­tages con­nec­tiv­ity brings will be key to re­al­is­ing the benefits. Rather than be­ing an im­ped­i­ment, we ex­pect that good se­cu­rity can ac­tu­ally speed up the re­al­i­sa­tion of this next industrial revo­lu­tion,” said McVicar.

The Art of At­tri­bu­tion to be Im­pacted

Cy­ber threat re­port­ing and public whitepa­pers have grown in reg­u­lar­ity and promi­nence dur­ing 2014. One of the key parts to a con­tem­po­rary threat re­port is at­tri­bu­tion – the small de­tails in the code and attack be­hav­iour which give away clues as to the per­pe­tra­tors of attack cam­paigns. What should be a sci­en­tific process is still more of an art, with tech­ni­cal in­di­ca­tors mixed in with con­tex­tual in­for­ma­tion and cul­tural ref­er­ences pro­vid­ing hints which are picked up by re­searchers. At­tack­ers read the re­sult­ing public re­ports as well, we can see ev­i­dence of this from the shifts in be­hav­iour which oc­cur im­me­di­ately af­ter­wards.

In 2015, we an­tic­i­pate that at­tack­ers will go to greater lengths to im­prove their own op­er­a­tional se­cu­rity and in­crease their use of de­cep­tion – that is, the plac­ing of false flags to throw off re­searchers and ham­per at­tri­bu­tion. This runs the risk of un­der­min­ing the art of at­tri­bu­tion and cast­ing a shadow over the field of threat in­tel­li­gence. Re­searchers will need to adopt prac­tices from the pro­fes­sional in­tel­li­gence com­mu­nity and tread care­fully when drawing con­clu­sions about who is ul­ti­mately be­hind cy­ber at­tacks.

2015 Crunch Time for Big Data

We’ve seen the rise of ‘Big Data’ in re­cent years with tech­nolo­gies such as Hadoop mov­ing from niche projects to main­stream work­horses. Busi­nesses in sec­tors such as tele­com, bank­ing and tech­nol­ogy have shown in­ter­est and many have al­ready in­vested in big data tech­nolo­gies. We are now en­ter­ing a ma­tur­ing phase of the life-cy­cle, with com­pet­ing plat­forms, sup­port ser­vices and a strong mar­ket for de­vel­op­ers, data sci­en­tists and ad­min­is­tra­tors. How­ever, busi­ness lead­ers who’ve funded the in­vest­ment are in­creas­ingly ask­ing their tech­nol­ogy teams to show value from their im­ple­men­ta­tions.

“We an­tic­i­pate 2015 to be crunch time for Big Data crunch­ing – where those who are still run­ning at the pro­to­type phase are ex­pected to de­liver to­wards spe­cific busi­ness use-cases to jus­tify con­tin­ued in­vest­ment. This will fo­cus minds from ‘get­ting more data in’ to ‘get­ting more out of ex­ist­ing data’. There will be a shift from tech­nolo­gies which en­able stor­age and ba­sic re­port­ing to those which en­able mean­ing­ful in­tel­li­gence to be ex­tracted. Use-cases such as net­work mon­i­tor­ing, fraud-de­tec­tion and se­cu­rity an­a­lyt­ics will be popular – driven by the in­creas­ing over­lap be­tween cy­ber threats and other risks and fo­cused board-level at­ten­tion on man­ag­ing cy­ber se­cu­rity across the busi­ness,” said McVicar.

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