With the launch of episode five today we’re now over halfway through 2020: the Series, Trend Micro’s visionary online video project taking a sneak peek at how cyber-crime might evolve at the end of the decade. If you haven’t logged on yet, click through now to watch the story so far and follow the dramatic twists and turns as the Republic of South Sylvania struggles to come to terms with a massive cyber-attack which leaves a trail of chaos and destruction in its wake.
With a heritage of 25 years in the information security industry, Trend Micro knows full well that the key to staying on top of the latest cyber threats is having the foresight to anticipate where future weaknesses in IT systems may lie. This nine part web video series is our attempt to broaden that effort to all internet stakeholders – end users, businesses, academics, lawmakers and others – so we can all start thinking a little bit more about our cyber future.
The story so far:
On the eve of South Sylvania’s first ever all digital elections a devastating cyber-attack takes place knocking out The Switch – a vital centralized authentication hub through which netizens switch between their multiple online profiles. Without The Switch the nation is paralyzed. Citizens can’t access pharmacies for life-saving medication; surgeons can’t enter operating theatres because they are locked into the wrong profiles; trains derail; all banking transactions are halted, meaning users are left with no way to pay for food and other essentials; and remote access to corporate systems is disabled, with no room in bricks and mortar offices to house workers.
Although the Prime Minister claims the situation is under control, he is forced to postpone the general election, sending more shock-waves through the national economy. With the international community losing confidence in the country, and mulling a ban on all Sylvanian digital products, the nation’s all-important cyber security rating is lowered. Cyber criminals around the world take advantage of South Sylvania’s vulnerability, resulting in loss and IP theft on a massive scale.
Elsewhere, hacktivist Adam – the man who made the cyber attack possible – finds he’s in way over his head.
Securing the future
Trend Micro’s 2020: the Series project is based on a white paper we wrote with Europol, commissioned by the non-profit International Cyber Security Protection Alliance (ICSPA). While Project 2020: Scenarios for the Future of Cyber Crime is a valuable document we wanted something that could reach out to a wider audience, in a more accessible format.
Over the past quarter of a century Trend Micro’s forward thinking approach to threat protection has enabled us to become the first to secure servers, networks, gateways, mobile devices and the cloud. While this web video series isn’t a cast iron prediction of the future, many of the ideas in it are already taking shape today.
Things like personalized content consumption via headsets; online services that fulfill every conceivable human need; and the idea of an interconnected ‘internet of everything’ are already here to a lesser extent. We’re just asking the question: what happens if we come to rely on these things too much, without adequately preparing for a worst case scenario?
As the internet of everything evolves, we will certainly need to work harder to capture threats at a network level. Our expanding number of online profiles, meanwhile, will require a more significant investment of resources to secure, especially as we flit between public and private networks. We all need to start thinking about these things as we head towards the end of the decade, so let’s start the journey now, together.