#CyberFLASH: A former top Canadian spy told us about 4 huge cyber threats that are emerging

hackers-8Technology researchers estimate that anywhere from 25 to 50 billion devices, or more than three for every person on the planet, will be connected to the internet by the end of 2020.

And as the internet of things grows, so does the number of malicious actors from nation states to hackers bent on exploiting its ubiquity.

Hackers’ attacks are becoming more sophisticated and targeted as they gain confidence and learn to exploit the many mistakes people make every day in protecting — or rather, failing to protect — their information.

Cyber warfare is uniquely dangerous in that it gives enormous power to nation states, hacktivists and malicious non-state actors who would normally pose little or no threat to their adversaries. As a result, we are witnessing a new arms race for cyber offensive (and defensive) capabilities.

These capabilities can be stolen or reverse-engineered, however, after they are developed and released into the wild.

“What is a great cyber intelligence tool today is tomorrow’s exploit,” Ray Boisvert, former Director General of the Counter Terrorism program for the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS), told the highly technical Infiltrate hacking conference in April.

He highlighted Stuxnet, an incredibly powerful computer virus created by the NSA and Israel that Tehran successfully reverse-engineered in part, according to Geopolitical expert Ian Bremmer, turning that knowledge into their own cyber-weapons to destroy the servers of Saudi Arabia’s national oil and natural gas company.

Boisvert, who is now a senior associate specializing in cyber and insider threats at Hill+Knowlton Strategies Canada, outlined to Business Insider four major ways that advancements in internet technology could threaten national security.

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