Do you ever wonder what our society will look like years from now? Do you want to find out more about where cyber threats are headed in the future and how we should respond? Do you feel marginalized or out-of-touch with the current debate? If the answer to any of those questions is yes then you should be watching 2020: the Series, an innovative series of web videos produced by Trend Micro designed to get us all thinking a bit more about our cyber future.
At Trend Micro we’ve been protecting enterprises, small businesses and consumers from everything the bad guys can throw at us for a quarter of a century now. Today we offer the three C’s: complete end-user protection; cloud and data center security; and cyber security defenses. But we can’t stand still because you can bet the cyber criminals are out there scheming ways to circumvent our defenses. They’re agile, well-resourced and determined, and adept at finding vulnerabilities in new technologies and systems. That’s why at Trend Micro we have thousands of researchers and engineers around the world collecting data, monitoring the threat landscape and trying to predict where the next big attack might come from so we can fine tune our next generation portfolio of security products.
As part of these ongoing efforts we want to include you in the debate, because everyone – from school kids to lawmakers – has a part to play and a stake to hold in our collective future.
The story so far
As the name suggests, 2020: the Series is set at the end of the decade, in a fictional land known as South Sylvania. This is a country where citizens have become almost completely reliant on internet-based services to socialize, shop, consume multimedia content and interact with the government. Wearable technology is ubiquitous, with Sylvanians consuming content via digital glasses or specially designed contact lenses. Every industry, from banking to healthcare, is dependent on the net to function properly, and leverages an “internet of everything”, a network of millions of interconnected devices, to offer more efficient and innovative services to customers.
In 2020: the Series we imagine what might happen if the bad guys manage to take down the entire system. A huge, coordinated cyber attack on the eve of South Sylvania’s first all-digital elections has struck with hackers aiming to steal the personal information of the country’s citizens. This has taken out The Switch, a centralized authentication hub through which individuals switch between their multiple online profiles. Chaos ensues as surgeons are locked out of operating theatres, employees are unable to work remotely, and banks can’t authenticate users. In short, the critical national infrastructure is crippled.
Episode 8 is the penultimate part of our series and the police finally appear to have caught their man, a hacktivist named Adam Cole who wrote the malicious code which did all the damage. Cole has given the authorities the means to get the all-important Switch back on track, which should get the country moving again. However the real mastermind, a cyber criminal named Yanek, remains at large…
Securing our future against cyber attack
2020: the Series is based on a white paper produced by Trend Micro and Europol for the non-profit body International Cyber Security Protection Alliance. While Project 2020: Scenarios for the future of cyber crime is a valuable and thought-provoking document, the hope is that we can engage a wider and more captive audience with these short web videos.
2020 might seem like a long time away but the truth is that elements of our fictional story are already visible today. Wearable technology, from Google Glass to Galaxy Gear, is beginning to make an impact; an “internet of everything” is taking place thanks to the growing number of smart appliances and gadgets; and web-based services are already vital to the smooth running of critical infrastructure.
At Trend Micro we’re already thinking about how best to secure this future.
We need to focus more on protecting users’ multiple online profiles, especially at their weakest point – where they intersect. We also need to secure the internet of everything at a network level, as it grows, so that cyber criminals can’t subvert or disrupt its huge potential for good. As internet-connected devices proliferate we also need to ensure security follows the user, not the device itself.
In reality, 2020 is just around the corner. It may seem a long time in the fast-moving world of technology, but it’s still just seven short years. So let’s start thinking about it now: click through to catch up on the story so far.
Let’s make sure we’re ready for the future.