Hello, 5G. Goodbye, Passwords: Predictions for the New Decade

What will security look like in the third decade of the 21st century? Here are a few preductions

As we approach a new decade, it’s fun to look back at what the technology and cybersecurity landscapes were like 10 years ago—back when IoT devices began proliferating the market, the iPhone 4 had just launched and Operation Aurora became the most sophisticated Google hack of its time.

With 2020 upon us, it is time to look forward at what is to come. Most technology concerns won’t be going anywhere just yet—in fact, the ’20s are going to bring in a whole new slew of threats. From saying goodbye to passwords to voting from your mobile device, things are about to get a whole lot different—for better or for worse.

See ya, passwords. Passwords are the longest standing method of authentication and have been ingrained in our daily lives for more than 60 years. It’s about time we start thinking about a change, a way to identify users that is less risky and more secure. In this decade, passwords will become something of the past. Biometrics and zero sign-on authentication methods will allow consumers and enterprises to enter a passwordless world.

Consumers will take control of their privacy. Over the past few years, we’ve witnessed some of the biggest privacy and data breaches. As a result of the backlash, tech giants such as Apple, Google, Facebook and Amazon beefed up their privacy controls to gain back trust from customers. Now, the tables have turned in favor of consumers and companies will have to put privacy first to stay in business. Moving forward, consumers will own their personal data, which means they will be able to selectively share it with third parties—but most importantly, they will get their data back after sharing, unlike in years past.

Using AI to combat AI. In the 2010s we saw the rise of cyberattacks that leverage AI and ML to exploit vulnerabilities to break into businesses. This has proved to be a challenge for IT organizations, as they try to not only prevent these types of attacks but also understand the technology behind them. As threats become more complicated and powerful, humans can no longer protect enterprises on their own. In 2020, we’ll start to see AI used to fight back against the AI that is breaking into high-profile systems.

5G taking the world by storm. While 5G brings faster connectivity and a whole new slew of capabilities across all industries, it also will accelerate the amount of data that can get lost on mobile devices, opening us up to new cybersecurity concerns. 5G is unavoidable, and cybercriminals are going to take advantage of the security gaps to hack consumers and enterprises alike. From phishing attacks to device takeovers, security leaders are going to need to keep an eye out for the attacks launched by 5G.

You won’t be able to vote on your phone just yet. Many people are already talking about the possibility of voting from your mobile device, but the industry isn’t ready quite yet. Election security is going to be the talk of 2020, and there are just too many threats targeted at mobile devices for voters to safely vote from them this election. Even in the campaigning season, digital conversations are already taking place that can be easily found and manipulated. This doesn’t mean that voting from mobile devices won’t happen in the future, but it won’t be happening in 2020. Mobile devices just aren’t there yet.

Mobile devices will empower the workforce. Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff is already talking about how he runs his $143 billion business completely from his phone, and this will be the same for the average employee. As a result, organizations need to take stock of their mobile device security infrastructure, as this will just be a new way for hackers to break into sensitive information. That said, mobile devices will continue to employ features that enable easier and more efficient work.

As we embark on a new decade, it is exciting to think about all of the possibilities that technology will enable, but it is also important to recognize the security threats that come with them. Security leaders need to approach the ’20s with a zero-trust mindset, in which each person, device, technology and everything in-between is verified before they can be trusted. One thing is for sure: Technology is going to continue impacting the ways we live, work and play, and we’ll just have to be ready for anything.

Brian Foster

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Brian Foster

As SVP of Product Management at MobileIron, Brian is responsible for overseeing product direction and innovation. Brian brings more than 25 years of experience to his role. Prior to MobileIron, Brian founded a startup in the identity management space. Before that, he was SVP of information services at Neustar, the leader in identity resolution. At Neustar, Brian's teams were responsible for solutions in marketing services, risk and fraud, registries, and security services. Brian has a BA in Economics from UCLA and completed the executive program in management from UCLA's Anderson School of Management.

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