Posted on December 7, 2018 by staff

‘Bot cyber-attacks’ and other 2019 tech predictions


A major data breach involving a bot might sound a little far-fetched, but it could become a reality next year according to one expert.

As 2019 approaches, we reached out to technology experts, business leaders and futurists and compiled our favourite tech predictions for the year ahead.

In a fast-paced world of rapid technological advancement, it’s more crucial than ever to keep your finger on the pulse – but remember that not all predictions come true.

Cyber-attack by bot

Paul Trulove, CPO of identity governance provider SailPoint 

In 2019, we’ll see the first big software bot-related data breach. Organisations are already looking to bots to carry out workplace tasks like booking employee travel and chatting with customers – and we’ll soon see companies using bots to access even more critical data.

One of the areas that bots will be used more and more is in data extraction and reporting, where bots will take over a human’s task of logging into Salesforce or SAP to generate a report, often containing sensitive data, and email it off to the requester.

These bots, which are often left unprotected, can be easily compromised by hackers when they’re not governed or managed in the same way as their human counterparts.

Once a hacker is able to infiltrate an organization through spoofing a bot identity, they’ll have unchecked access to critical systems and data, giving them the ability to do untold damage. And because these bots are largely unmonitored, who knows how long an attack like this will last without detection and remediation?


The 5G floodgates open

Guy Weaver, director at tech investor Praetura Capital

One of the areas we’re most excited about for 2019 is 5G. Mobile communications are about to take a huge step forward! In the UK, six cities will have 5G networks by mid-2019 (London, Manchester, Birmingham, Cardiff, Edinburgh, Belfast), with 10 other cities are set to go live by the end of 2019.

The new networks will be 30x faster than current infrastructure, with as little as 1/10th of the latency of 4G.

We think this is going to open up completely new ways of doing business, and we can’t wait to see how entrepreneurs put it to good use. 5G technology could open the floodgates for everything from delivery drones and driverless cars, to smart cities. There won’t just be an ‘Internet of Things’: soon, it will look more like an ‘Internet of Everything’.

We might not get all of that in just 2019, but there’s going to be lots of experimentation. We’re expecting to see some really clever ideas that weren’t possible before.

The end of the password at work

Rob Mukherjee, director, EveryCloud Security

It’s already well engrained in our personal lives – fingerprint, iris and facial recognition. Yet in the workplace, where we’ve moved from desktop to smartphones, from on-premise to cloud – we’re still fumbling around with passwords.

Forgetting passwords and getting frozen out of our accounts is a drain on our productivity (not to mention mood); IT teams have better things to do than dealing with password resets – and stolen or weak passwords are by far the biggest factor behind data breaches.

Adaptive multi-factor authentication and contextual access management is now a real alternative. The user’s device, location, network, even an assessment of whether it’s realistic that someone logging in from Manchester two hours ago could now be trying to log in from Manhattan can all be taken into account – with the user being granted immediate seamless access when the situation allows for it – or being asked for additional authentication when the user is displaying a more unusual, “riskier” context.

In 2019, more and more businesses will say goodbye to passwords in favour of alternatives that reduce login friction, give users easier access to information – and improve security.

AI for all

Tim Mercer, CEO, Vapour Cloud

Like IoT, AI has fascinated – and baffled – many potential customers. They’ve become fixated with artificial intelligence being akin to what you see in the movies, and of course, given what I’ve said about autonomous cars, AI’s capabilities are pretty mindboggling!

However, the use of AI – machines – should actually be considered the latest phase in the industrial revolution! Yes, it’s incredible what’s possible with technology, but we’ve been astounded for decades as to what machines can do and how their deployment can change our lives.

More savvy business owners are waking up to this and implementing their own nuggets of AI in the workplace.

From chat bots to simple automation workflows, AI is a vast landscape, can be cost-effective, and needn’t be feared. The only limitation really is imagination!

“Interesting” new shifts in communication

Joanna Swash, managing director, Moneypenny

We believe that there will be some interesting shifts in the way we communicate in 2019.

Firstly in how business are changing to differentiate themselves to the competition as it is no longer simply about price or products – but client experience.

We believe it’s this desire to exceed expectations and build meaningful connections that will separate the good from the truly great and continue to strengthen their reputations.

As part of this drive to provide a better client experience, we believe that making it easy to communicate and ensuring a fantastic first interaction with customers is key. Customers increasingly expect an omnichannel experience, where their conversations flow seamlessly across platforms, as per Facebook Messenger.

We predict that web form usage will reduce significantly, replaced by real-time live chat. The open 9-5 mentality has gone and consumers expect to be able to reach companies at any time. Live chat offers this flexibility, and a website without it could be compared to a shop with no sales assistants.

Robolawyers make legal services cheap and cheerful

Celia Hannon, director of explorations, Nesta

In 2019, legal AI will become mainstream. Instead of a visit to a local solicitor, you could soon sue your employer, dispute an immigration decision or get a divorce from the comfort of your smartphone.

In the 21st century, as Amazon disrupted retail and Uber challenged the taxi industry, Salesforce, Oracle and Google streamlined, accelerated and transformed the lives of office workers.

In 2019, the next big round of automation will be in the legal sector, with apps and web-based services replacing a visit to a local solicitor’s firm for many straightforward legal problems.

Is acceleration just a cliché?

Tom Cheesewright, applied futurist, Book of the Future

Acceleration has been the core theme of tech marketing for the last few years, to the point that it has become a cliché, but it remains an important theme nonetheless.

Whether or not you believe that change happens faster now one thing is clear: customers’ expectations have increased. Speed of service is one of the primary factors in customer loyalty. It doesn’t matter if you are public sector or a private enterprise, the same leaders are setting the pace.

You have to strive to perform within a few percent of the best and that’s a huge challenge for legacy players with huge infrastructures to turn around.

2019 will see a lot more companies struggle because they simply can’t perform at the speed their customers demand.

Smart sensors

Tim Harper, serial entrepreneur and founder, G2O Water Technologies

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is only as good as the data it uses to make decisions and much of that data is still low quality and unreliable.

In 2019 smart sensors will start to be found everywhere, automating data collection to satisfy the voracious appetite of AI.

The reach of AI is widening from computer vision work or voice interaction, still accounting for most applications, into new areas such as autonomous vehicles, healthcare and smart cities.

Combining the capability to both acquire and process data at the edge of the Cloud with 5G connectivity the most of the Internet of Things will soon be smart sensors.

Machine learning cloud management

Stephen Long OBE, MD of Enterprise, KCOM

There’s a huge swing in the cloud market towards tools that allow you to effectively monitor and govern your cloud environment.

Machine learning algorithms will soon be predicting the behaviour of your environment.

Rather than waiting for a server to fail, companies will have trend analysis built in to create a profile of the behaviour of their solutions to see what’s going wrong.

It will be able to predict peaks in usage, performance degradation, and see failures coming up. As a result, 2019 will see the industry moving towards self-healing cloud.

As cloud adoption grows, so will cyber-attacks

Jesper Frederiksen, VP at identity access management and security specialist Okta

Cyber criminals by their very nature are opportunistic and will go where the money goes.

The rate of switching from on-premises to cloud-based security solutions will increase exponentially, in 2019, but weakness by organisations in deploying sufficient controls, will see rising cyber-attacks.

To help organisations better safeguard systems, machine-learning techniques will grow in maturity for both predictive models and response automation.

This will help organisations deal with rising attacks and enable human intervention for more serious attacks.

Next level IoT technologies

Ben Lorica, chief data scientist, O’Reilly Media

A few years ago, most internet of things (IoT) examples involved smart cities and smart governments.

But the rise of cloud platforms, cheap sensors, and machine learning has IoT poised to make a comeback in industry.

We’ll still hear about municipal and public sector applications, but there are other interesting use cases involving closed systems (factories, buildings, homes) and enterprise and consumer applications (edge computing).

Do you have your own tech predictions for 2019 that you’d like to share? Email [email protected]