Sean S. Costigan

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The Future of Cyberterrorism

Democracies have much at stake in cyberspace. Free peoples depend on access to information, free exchange and the free movement of data. Democracies likewise share many commonalities, not least of which are vibrant communities, dependence on IT as a key economic sector and, unfortunately, many vulnerabilities that are ripe for exploitation. As the physical and virtual worlds are merging, ample examples and evidence of state-sponsored cyberattacks continue to mount. Depsite the facts, many in the security professions remain in denial about the risks of actual cyber terrorism. Their critiques typically fall into three main groups, each of which has the benefit of appearing to be based in sound reasoning, however, the rationales for each are fatally flawed. The sooner we work together to understand and overcome biases, outdated thinking and misguided conservatism, the better apt we will be to plan for what is probable.

The IoT: Weapon of Mass Disruption

In 2016 the IoT became a weapon of mass disruption.  The IoT insecurity trend line is clear: risks are growing geometrically while gains in security are lagging. A conservative estimate is  that 6.4 billion connected things will be in use worldwide in 2016, while spending on cybersecurity was over $75 billion USD in 2015. Both of these numbers are set to massively increase, but the returns from cybersecurity spending have not been keeping up with the challenges posed by new and legacy devices.  The IoT will continue to expand and create novel means of insecurity.  Absent success in international and technological agreements, however, we must earnestly cultivate foresight and improve resilience efforts to mediate large-scale disruption by hacktivists, state actors, and criminals.

Sean S. Costigan

costiganSean S. Costigan is a Professor at the George C. Marshall European Center for Security Studies. He is an expert in emerging security challenges and is published widely on matters of national security and foresight. His current research and teaching is on the nexus of cybersecurity, crime and terrorism. Costigan previously served in the Private Sector Program at the Office of the Director of National Intelligence; Chief Information Officer of The MIT Pres; Associate Professor at The New School; Director for Strategic Initiatives, Center for Security Studies ETH Zurich; Visiting Fellow at the University of Calcutta's Institute of Foreign Policy Studies; Executive Editor at Columbia International Affairs Online; Research Associate for Science, Technology and Defense Industrial Policy at the Council on Foreign Relations; and on the staff of the Weatherhead Center for International Affairs, Harvard University. In addition to his work for the Marshall Center, he is presently serving as a Senior Adviser to the NATO/GCSP/PfPC Emerging Security Challenges study group; Chair of the Editorial Board, Partnership for Peace Consortium of Defense Academies and Security Studies Institutes; Senior Associate at the Security Governance Group and is an Associate at Vision Foresight Strategy. 

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