Have you heard the myth about the ironic Chinese blessing, “May you live in interesting times?” This tongue-in-cheek face slap is a myth – there is no known Chinese equivalent that we can find. However, the phrase is appropriately used to describe the wild ride we’ve had lately in internet security. And it will also inform internet security trends in the future.

Let’s start by reviewing recent history, which was certainly interesting when it comes to internet security. In the past year and a half or so, hackers:

Extrapolating hacker activity and the growth of “dark web” sites, as well as technology usage data, what are the best predictions for what to expect in internet security trends in 2019 — and beyond?

Related: Understanding Online Security Threats

Internet security should never be an oxymoron

Over the past five years, our dependence on the cloud has snowballed. IDC says the last of the cloud holdouts are migrating data at a record pace; this year 60 percent of all infrastructures and up to 70 percent of software will have foundations in the cloud. While this feels disruptive, check out the proliferation of cloud-connected software/hardware technology.

Internet-connected hardware, called the IoT (Internet of Things) devices are spreading like cold germs in a preschool.

Business Insider shares the rags to riches story:

  • There will be more than a billion smart home devices in use by 2023.
  • Corporate annual spending on IoT applications will hit $450 billion in the same timeframe.
  • Governments are pushing for IoT-driven “smart-cities” with connected cameras, street and traffic sensors, and more. They’ll spend about $900 billion in the next 20 years or so.

All of these trends are creating new security risks and subsequent preventative counters by IT experts.

It’s safe to say that network engineers at every corporation in America are increasingly spending time on developing new ways to secure their expansive, interconnected and complex corporate infrastructures. Think of all this as high stakes pingpong; as hackers come up with new ways to exploit IT vulnerabilities, tech teams must stretch to block and parry – or just keep up with the server.

Related: What is the IoT — and why does it matter for your business?

5 internet security trends on the horizon

Here’s where it’s going to get really interesting.

  1. Shadow IT applications are going to trash the place.

  2. Fighting ransomware will become mission critical.

  3. Turnkey proactive full-cycle incident management will heat up.

  4. Artificial intelligence will reign.

  5. More acts of cyber terrorism will be unleashed and/or unveiled.

Let’s look at each of these projected internet security trends for 2019 and beyond.

1. Shadow IT applications are going to trash the place

Forbes is predicting that shadow IT applications are going to cause serious damage in the next few years. ComputerWorld calls them “renegade apps,” in a Wild West scenario where employees download non-corporate-approved (and potentially insecure) apps to the same devices they’re using to access business data.

Gartner’s Earl Perkins predicts that by 2020 one-third of successful cyberattacks will occur as a result of these rogue applications.

These problems have created a whole new layer of on-premises applications called cloud access security broker (CASB) software. This serves as a traffic cop between the cloud and the applications accessing network data.

2. Fighting ransomware will become mission critical

Cybercriminals fall victim to trends, too, and the latest is ransomware. That’s because companies continue to lag behind on security updates for on-premises applications.

Not to mention, ransomware pays — hackers have earned $5.9 million from SamSam alone so far. Ransomware is also easy to transmit via an email phishing scam, which spreads this type of malware that locks down computers until the ransom is paid.

Related: Protect your library, nonprofit or municipal agency from the ransomware virus

3. Turnkey proactive full-cycle incident management will heat up

Threats stem from single-users, applications, hardware and the internet itself. Just spotting the breach in a dispersed network of multiple components and capabilities is challenging.

That’s why enterprise organizations will continue to invest in turnkey software integrations that continually automate monitoring and mitigation of cyber threats.

These proactive systems will analyze the event, isolate it, find the breach and seal it. Trend Micro says, “Strategies such as log analysis and endpoint detection and response (EDR) tools can allow security personnel to pinpoint where and when an attack happened, and can also help prevent similar attacks from happening.”

Related: How to create a security incident response plan

4. Artificial intelligence will reign

While AI has been around as a construct for decades, we’ve failed to commercialize it as a product. Security trends of the future show AI are poised to help forecast, classify and potentially block or mitigate cyber threats.

While one of the building blocks of AI — machine learning — is now incorporated regularly into security applications, the next step is full-on AI. Machine will battle machine in an automated, ever-learning response cycle that happens faster than an eye-blink at machine, not human speeds.

The prediction to note here is that a new space race is emerging — AI in cyberspace.


While the AI application on the ground will be cybersecurity, there are broader implications. In fact, Russian President Vladimir Putin suggests that the country that harnesses true AI will rule the world.

Related: Data bias in AI

5. More acts of cyber terrorism will be unleashed and/or unveiled

It’s clear now that governments have likely been engaging in cyber terrorism for decades. But the difference is the level of attack and our national obsession with all things digital. National cyberattacks are politically motivated, often extending beyond data-seeking to go to the heart of attacking critical infrastructures or even, political process. Cyber attacks are now being used to influence voter opinion or to infiltrate cloud-connected electronic voting machines. These massive attacks are coordinated, well funded and potentially devastating.

And we likely will experience — or at the least, hear about — more of them moving forward.

What you don’t know will hurt you

Mostly, digital technology is our friend. But the truth for 2019 is that our increasing dependence on the internet for everything necessitates new and evolving rules — rules that small business owners and IT teams must understand and plan for.

As cybersecurity threats become more devious, our countermeasures must remain creatively fluid to mitigate the risk.

Ready to take stronger steps to protect your business online? Learn what tools are available to help.

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