The Next Three Years in Security Threats

Web servers, social media and state-sponsored threats dominate the next three years in security threats.

Organizations face particular challenges from attacks getting lower and slower, slipping under the radar with a rogue approach (often called “snowshoeing”). Take for example an attacker who monitors local ISP traffic and doesn’t trigger the enterprise’s threshold to be discovered. It’s now become necessary for chief information security officers (CISOs) to focus on operational resilience and security sustainability.


Greg Young, Gartner

Web server vulnerabilities will be first and foremost, according to Greg Young, research vice president at Gartner, in his session titled The Next Three Years in Threats at the Gartner Security & Risk Management Summit in National Harbor, Maryland. “Web servers are this jack of all trades for bad guys to do bad things,” he says. Notably, web servers are increasingly used as a link in the kill chain for targeted attack. Shadow IT and mobile are also shifting to be the new vectors for spear phishing, with the Internet of Things (IoT) attack surface getting ever larger and more exploited.

Malware Trends

Existing vulnerabilities dominate malware lists and it’s important to close old known holes. However, manually distributed malware via social media and in response to phishing will be greatest growth category. The actions of social media and owners of Android app store companies will drive the direction of social and mobile threats more than security companies. For example, after a social media company was pressured to remove ISIS activity, 80% of ISIS traffic closed down overnight.

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State-Sponsored Threats

State-sponsored technical spying isn’t new. There’s a lingering perception by technology companies and users that the government may be friend or foe. By 2020, more than 10% of request for proposals (RFPs) for network security products and services will exclude vendors from China and the U.S. In other words, state-sponsored attacks drive government procurement trends.

The Response: Sustainable and Resilient

“Get more resilient, because you will be attacked,” Young says. “Stop treating cloud as something different, good or bad. It’s an extension of the platform.” He adds that business continuity is no longer separate from security and he stresses that it’s important to assess and update the threat landscape, not just the technology.

Video replays from the Summit are available at Gartner Events on Demand.

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