Security Think Tank: Old and new security challenges in 2014

What are the top security issues businesses need to address going into 2014?

The attacks will continue in 2014 and get ever more sophisticated, but the old favourites such as Conficker will continue, and because we will be focusing on the new, the old will continue to score success.

In 2014, we will see the continuing increase in the use of companion technologies such as smartphones and tablets, which in turn broadens the attack surface on a company.

Other challenges for the new year include the end of support for Microsoft Windows XP/XP Pro. The challenge raised here is that derivative products, including Windows Vista, Windows 7 and Windows 8, will continue being supported.  

Any published security fix for these derivative products can be, and indeed will be, reverse engineered to identify XP vulnerabilities, which could affect the many companies and individuals that will still be running XP well after support has been withdrawn.

My final pick of security issues for 2014 will be the continuing improvement in operating system (OS) security, which I believe will drive increasing sophistication in blended attacks, particularly those using new attack vectors such as the smartphone, social media and bring your own device (BYOD). 

Is there a bright side? Well, ever the optimist I do see a greater awareness of security issues and in the end it will be a user’s awareness that will be the final bastion in a company’s or individual's security defences.

Peter Wenham is a committee member of the BCS Security Forum strategic panel and director of information assurance consultancy Trusted Management.

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