As identity theft continues to grow, so does the business surrounding it. Companies like life lock are becoming a sort of cyber defense contractor one might say. These cyber security companies are going to become the Blackwater’s or Academi’s of the future. With the recent 2016 U.S. election producing claims of Russian involvement in altering voting machines and even back to North Korea’s alleged hacking of Sony pictures, there is an enormous potential for profit in the latest cyber defense. The U.S. military has even opened up a branch within the Army Corps. Apparently the U.S. Army has been waging global cyber warfare against hackers for many years now according to Paul Szoldra from business insider.
Companies like Root 9B from Colorado Springs, Colorado to DF Labs from Lombardy, Italy are in the business of protecting the individual in cyberspace just as Academi does for individuals in the physical dimension. This will likely drive a heavy emphasis on cyber war between nations in the future. Where there is money in conflict there will be conflict for the money.
We may be in the beginning stages of a global cyber war with countries like Russia, North Korea, and even China. This will make for an ideal environment for these cyber contractors worldwide to exploit their talents in cyberspace and gain government contracts, locking in profits and increased market share. While the U.S. military seeks out the best cyber (white-hat) hackers in order to protect the U.S. cyberspace, the cyber security companies are doing the same and locking in the talent to also be one step ahead of rogue hackers from all corners of the world.
Another interesting aspect which may arise are conflicts between these cyberspace contractors which may go toe to toe with one another over their opposing clients. Cyber security companies have the ability to go onto the offensive and be the ones doing the hacking to other companies, countries, or individuals. To go into a cyber war, there will be civilian casualties where innocent people irrelevant to conflicts at hand may experience identity theft. There may be expansions in information wars between companies such as in the area of industrial espionage. This can lead to company suppliers getting caught in the crossfire and face life or death situation for their own businesses. This could also mean confidential client information will be at risk if pharmaceutical companies release confidential health records on prescriptions and other sensitive information.
This cyber war concept, if applied to reality, will near guarantee major fluctuations in stock prices, as well as a hazardous environment for the more neutral everyday customer of companies worldwide. The cyber security sector needs to think of all stakeholders at hand and understand that when serving one client, it may be doing a disservice to another on the other side of the world resulting in wary potential customers as well as investors, or even creditors.
Another find that I have made is the non-profit Global Cyber Security Center (GCSEC), which is based in Italy. A non-profit which promotes cyber security around the world will need to have a solid hold on neutrality due to its status in the world economy with its global reach. This non-profit will likely see hardships when conflict arises between clients in other parts of the world which may force the GCSEC to pick a side to prevent conflicts of interest, but this may result in the fall of the non-profit. With global influence the GCSEC will have the world watching at all times, critiquing at all times, and this can leave stakeholders wary of the non-profit.
According to a 2017 survey by PricewaterhouseCoopers, phishing scams are up 38% in 2016 as well as 55% of businesses and individuals in the world being hit by hacking. To say that cyber security is needed is a given. However to say it is the future, one needs to be willing to accept the potential ramifications of following through and leaving cyber security companies to lead the markets and in a sense; the world.