Welcome to a Science Fiction World

February 18, 2022

  • The future’s assault on the present is relentless. And the pace at which tomorrow becomes today is a big deal for cybersecurity pros because it means there’s less time to prepare.
  • Failure to focus on tomorrow puts cybersecurity organizations at risk.
  • From AI to quantum computing, ransomware to deepfakes, drones to the space economy and lots more, it’s critical that boards, C-Suites, CISOs and their teams look down the block and around the corner for threats and opportunities that may be closer than they realize. Our new Visual Future of Cybersecurity illustrates a bit of why.



In cybersecurity, the only thing more important than today is tomorrow.

All the way back in December, the world discovered that a prominent cyber crime group was surreptitiously recruiting security analysts to unwittingly perform key tasks for its ransomware schemes.


On January 5 we learned that researchers at UC San Diego have found “a way to produce more expressive AI-generated voices with minimal training.” Beneficial applications may include improved personal assistants and speech translation; it may even help those who can’t speak (think about a more realistic sounding take on the late Stephen Hawking’s voice box). And by the way, it could be a big help for deepfakers.


A week later, BioNTech (which “pioneered the messenger RNA technology behind the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine”) announced it has partnered with a London-based AI company on an “early warning system” for detecting new coronavirus variants.


In tests, the two companies said that their early warning system was able to pick up 12 of the 13 coronavirus variants that the World Health Organization has so far designated as potentially dangerous, doing so on average two months before the WHO reached that conclusion. For the Omicron variant, the system identified it as potentially dangerous on the same day its genetic sequence was first made available, according to a paper BioNTech and InstaDeep published on the non-peer-reviewed academic repository bioRxiv.org on Wednesday.


Wow. These are huge. Unfortunately, you’ll find no mention of them in our just-released Visual Future of Cybersecurity because they dropped after we went to press. We had already inserted post-last-minute updates a couple of times, including the item on p47 about IBM’s new 127-qubit quantum chip (and a 433-qubit chip planned for later this year).


Of course, this is a problem we anticipated, because the future will … not … stop … happening.


The pace at which tomorrow becomes today is a big deal for cybersecurity pros because it means there’s less time to prepare. The exploit that poses an existential threat to your business isn’t detailed in a trade journal story on “things to watch out for next year.” Instead, it may already be loose in your network and infrastructure. Like Log4j.


This is why we decided to publish our new future book. There’s a lot of future headed this way, and much of it will affect you. Artificial intelligence and quantum computing are tools more powerful than anything we’ve ever had – and perhaps more powerful than we can fully grasp right now. They represent a huge opportunity for both security teams and threat actors.


Ransomware you know about, but are you prepared for AI-driven deepfakes? Are you collaborating with other organizations to prepare for hackers who share pretty much everything and who are increasingly emulating leading legit business practices?


And have you thought about cyber defense in a world with a trillion connected (and poorly secured) devices, including IoT, critical infrastructure, drones, the space economy, even implantable medical devices?


As we say in the conclusion:


We encourage our clients, colleagues and communities to think forward, think fast and think broadly. Study tomorrow as a matter of habit. Study yesterday to make sure nothing important got past you. And, as [Optiv CISO] Brian Wrozek says above, get involved in shaping public and policy conversations so that our shared future benefits everyone.


The future of cybersecurity is massive, with opportunities and threats aplenty to consider. It’s critical that boards, C-Suites, CISOs and their teams look down the block and around the corner, and the Visual Future illustrates a bit of why.


Download your free copy right now and spend a few minutes with it. We look forward to hearing what you think.

Sam Smith, PhD | Contributor
Sam has worked in technology and communications marketing for more than 20 years and during that time has served a host of Fortune, enterprise and mid-market leaders. He earned his doctorate from the University of Colorado, where he focused on the development and adoption of emerging digital communication technologies.

Optiv Security: Secure greatness.®

Optiv is the cyber advisory and solutions leader, delivering strategic and technical expertise to nearly 6,000 companies across every major industry. We partner with organizations to advise, deploy and operate complete cybersecurity programs from strategy and managed security services to risk, integration and technology solutions. With clients at the center of our unmatched ecosystem of people, products, partners and programs, we accelerate business progress like no other company can. At Optiv, we manage cyber risk so you can secure your full potential. For more information, visit www.optiv.com.