It’s 2019, and the cybersecurity landscape is more volatile than ever. Data breaches are increasing in number and size as the battle for valuable customer records heats up. Cybersecurity professionals are having to rethink the way that they protect their organizations against attackers, using a combination of tools and techniques to shore up their defences. Against this backdrop, We asked SecTor speakers about some of the issues that we thought would be at the top of peoples’ minds in 2019.

We sat down with Mark Nunnikhoven, VP of cloud research at Trend Micro, cybersecurity expert Karen Elazari, Elcomsoft CEO Vladimir Katalov, and Bruce Potter, CISO at Expel and founder of the ShmooCon security conference to get their views on the following:

What emerging threat worries you the most?

Threats are always changing. Some industry experts have already highlighted cryptojacking as more prevalent than ransomware, for example. Sometimes, what’s old is new again. Macro viruses, which spent a long time out in the cold, came back into vogue for a while. New technologies often give rise to new threats. What should we be watching out for this year?

How can we protect ourselves from ransomware?

You’d hope that more than 18 months after WannaCry, organizations would have worked out how to defend themselves against ransomware. Not so. It is still a massive threat, with almost six in ten IT and risk management professionals admitting that they had suffered an attack in the last 12 months. Governments and even law enforcement are falling victim to these pernicious attacks. What can we do to stop it?

How can security professionals advance their careers?

Sectors from finance to food are in need of cybersecurity skills. According to industry risk management and security nonprofit ISACA, there will be a global shortage of two million cybersecurity experts in the coming year. Now is the perfect time for young, hungry IT professionals to carve out careers for themselves in this exciting field. How can they begin?

How can we make projects secure by design?

2018 saw the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) come into effect. One of its key principles was the need to protect data by design and by default, meaning that they default to keeping peoples’ data safe from abuse. That sounds great on paper, but what does it mean in practice?

Will AI-powered cyberattacks be a real problem?

Finally, a question that’s a little more out there. We’re seeing reports that cyber attacks are beginning to use artificial intelligence tools to increase their speed and efficiency, learning and adapting as victims try to defend themselves. In some cases, researchers are seeing the potential for AI attacks powered by geolocation data and facial recognition. Is this something that companies should be truly worried about?

Our experts’ answers to these questions were insightful and thought-provoking. For more insights from these presenters, watch Mark Nunnikhoven’s talk about how we need to rethink our approach to cybersecurity directly on the SecTor site here, and Keren Elazari’s keynote on the future of cybersecurity here.  You can also see Bruce Potter’s keynote taking you through a rollercoaster career in cybersecurity here. For a deep tech dive into the inner workings of Alexa security, check out Vladimir Katalov’s presentation here.

After these insights, only one more question remains: What will we need to ask SecTor experts next year, as the industry evolves yet again?