Will World War III be fought in the cyber world?: Page 2 of 3

Cyber-psychologist Dr. Mary Aiken explains the current threats to cybersecurity.

a change in the type of people engaging in cybercrime?

Aiken: The one phenomenon that is most alarming is the increase in the number of young people engaging in cybercriminal activity – everything from hacking to cyber fraud. The Australian Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research recently reported a surge in cyber fraud offences committed by people under 18 years.

In a recent survey, roughly one in six teenagers in the US, and one in four teenagers in the UK, reported that they had tried some form of Internet hacking. Law enforcement have noted that young people, particularly IT literate boys, are increasingly committing cybercrime offences ranging from money laundering for criminal gangs, to hacking, to use of remote access trojans (RATs) – that is, malware that can log keystrokes, lift passwords, encrypt files and hold them for ransom, and is used for everything from blackmail to financial fraud.

Youth involvement in cybercrime points to developmental aspects of cyber criminality, and therefore requires urgent investment in educational and intervention programs designed to address evolving cyber juvenile delinquency.

Design News: Have you also seen a change in the way people and organizations are protecting themselves from cybercrime?

Aiken: Recent reports have highlighted the vulnerability of insecure Internet of Things (IoT) devices. In 2016 we had the first massive attack originating from connected devices, as the Mirai malware transformed around 150 000 routers and CCTV cameras into a DDoS botnet. This botnet was involved in several attacks, including one targeting internet infrastructure on the West Coast of the United States.

The sheer volume, velocity and variety of cyber-criminal activity online from large-scale data breaches to ransomware attacks means that increasingly organizations will need to deploy artificial intelligence solutions in order to protect themselves.



Design News: Do you see developments in cybersecurity sufficient to keep up with advances in cyber-attacks?

Aiken: There has been some interesting work undertaken in terms of comparing how the human immune system operates, and how a defensive network policing the Internet of Things might operate. A technological immune system would aim to detect illness in edge devices through sensors. The system would have the ability to quarantine unhealthy devices and deliver automatic treatment.

Design News: Should governments get more involved in cyber protection of its citizens and organization?

Aiken: Government does have a role to play in terms of determining policy regarding cyber security – individual organizations and enterprises are at present responsible for their own security - when it comes to citizens I believe that cyber security starts at home.

Design News: Will World War III be fought in the cyber world?

Aiken: First of all, I hope that we never have a World War III. However, war in cyber contexts is a distinct possibility, if not probability. Just last year NATO declared cyberspace as a "domain of operations," acknowledging that the wars of the future will be fought on

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