With 2017 now done and dusted, it’s time to think about what this year will bring. We spoke to Csaba Krasznay, Security Evangelist at Balabit, to get his expert opinion on what security trends we should look out for in 2018.

Cryptocurrency will become a bigger target for cybercriminals

2017 was the year that cryptocurrencies properly hit the mainstream, no doubt due to the media attention surrounding Bitcoin. Over the next year, we will see more sectors buy into the trend, including recruitment, law, and others. We will also see more businesses invest significant technical resource into mining cryptocurrencies––this will be something that will creep up the IT priority list.

However, this will have its downsides. Blockchain will become a bigger target for cybercrime, and 2018 will probably be the year we see the first major cryptocurrency breach. An attacker that steals the credentials of an employee with access to an organization’s blockchain system could make off with significant sums. Businesses will need to urgently regulate who has access and be able to spot when someone with access is behaving suspiciously.

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AI will help prevent more sophisticated attacks

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is going become increasingly important to the security industry in 2018, particularly as more businesses come to rely on AI and machine learning to make sense of an increasingly complex threat landscape.

Hackers are getting better at precision-targeted attacks on specific organizations, creating a ‘needle in a haystack’ effect where it’s almost impossible to identify those responsible. AI will be able to provide the computational power necessary to detect these more targeted attacks and defend against them.

In fact, organizations already using AI as part of their security infrastructure in 2017 were able to identify some of the major cyberattacks that took place this year, such as WannaCry. Over the next 12 months it’s likely that more businesses will follow this example to prevent such attacks.

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GDPR becomes reality

After what feels like an eternity of build up, the EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) will finally come into effect on May 25 2018. However, for many businesses it is still just theory, and in 2018 we will see organizations grapple with the practical reality of the legislation.

As mentioned before, cyberattacks are getting increasingly harder to detect and identify in real-time. When GDPR comes into play, businesses will be required to notify the authorities of a breach within a certain timeframe of it happening, or they face fines potentially as large as €20 million (or more). But if that organization is not even aware a breach has occurred, then they are exposing themselves to further huge risk, without even realizing it. Because of this there will be huge investments made in 2018 for technology that provides more timely detection of attacks.

Another aspect of the GDPR that organizations will potentially struggle with over the coming year is the role of the Data Protection Officer. No one is quite sure yet exactly which people will fill these roles. Will they come from an IT or security background? Will they be lawyers well versed in data protection law? A lack of specific expertise in this area means that 2018 will be a year of businesses working out the right skills needed for the role.

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The cyber security landscape is only going to get more complex in 2018. To respond to the changing trends, organizations will need to implement technologies that defend against the ever-evolving techniques of hackers. Biometrics can defend against privileged identity theft and can help detect malicious activity on your network. To find out which biometrics solutions are best suited to your business, read our free whitepaper, Biometrics: The Future of IT Security.