OP-ED QUESTION: HOW SERIOUS ARE CYBER-SECURITY THREATS? Cyber Security Risks are Everywhere, and are Inevitable We live in a heavily digitalized world, where virtually everything around us is implanted with some form of ‘intelligence’, ranging from the obvious - our smartphones, down to the money in our wallets, and every appliance in our homes. As the world’s technology is rapidly advancing, so are the avenues for cyber espionage evolvement, with different breaches developing almost every day, making it that much easier for cyber criminals to hijack systems. As long as our world continues to evolve technologically, cyber-security threats will only become a more and more concerning issue. Not only are the advanced breaches attacking businesses money and time wise, but is subsequently diminishing their reputation as well as provoking legal implications. The number of cyber attacks reported to news headlines in the last decade has finally hit home to many organizations and businesses to take serious action towards eliminating these threats, said Sam Olyaei, a risk analyst at Gartner. Following the recent news, it was reported that Russian hackers could completely infringe an entire computer network in the span of a short eighteen minutes. What is going on? Most importantly, what do we do with these rapidly advancing cyber attackers? There is constant fear in businesses of falling victim to a major cyber extortion as not only are cyber attacks affecting corporations, but causing a deteriorating domino effect of all the confidential data regarding all the customers or suppliers involved. Companies are hence investing millions of dollars into cyber-security, with an estimate of $101.6 billion being the expected expenditure by 2020, a 38% increase since 2016. The creation of artificial intelligence (AI) has expanded the horizons for business productivity; eliminating the need for humans to perform mundane tasks and helping them channel that energy towards increasing innovation. These machines, when wired properly, can effectively alleviate cyber threats. However, subsequent to the escape of a Russian robot in 2016, the ‘Promobot IR77’, its just like ‘human error’, that AI can also involve deceptive features that cannot be anticipated until the attack has been completed. So, what is the guarantee that an AI program won’t cause a major outbreak of confidential data leaks in the future? Gorman et.al, (2014) conducted a study of the nature of hackers, coming to a conclusion that when advanced hackers insinuate an attack, they follow a set of meticulously planned process in order to make sure it is done efficiently and secretively. Organizations need to thoroughly understand the ‘Cyber Kill Chain’ in order to successfully avoid advanced cyber threats, mitigating it at its starting point. Cyber security threats are not only one of the biggest and growing concerns for every business in the world, but have expanded to affecting government to government relationships, as state-sponsored cyber attacks are becoming highly prevalent. Recent news reported in February 6th, 2019, that a Norwegian software firm called Visma, had been a target by Chinese Ministry of State Security hackers, who were on a mission to pinch their trade secrets. Cyber attackers are a part of every industry, and as we evolve, these threats will only become a bigger and bigger inevitable concern. It’s no secret that all technology is insecure, with hackers not just affecting data but subsequently the lives of everyone along with it. I think that cyber security threats will definitely be regulated due to growing innovation, but nevertheless will stay on the top of the list for major company risks. Bibliography: Wright, D., 2005. The dark side of ambient intelligence. info, 7(6), pp.33–51. 9news.com.au. (2019). Russian hackers can breach an entire computer network in 18 minutes. [online] Available at: https://www.9news.com.au/world/news-world-russianhackers-can-breach-an-entire-computer-network-in-18-minutes/7d2d37c1-5ed3-446a8d3e-c132dc8596a8 [Accessed 6 Apr. 2019]. Opara, E.U. & Hussein, M.T., 2017. Cyber security, threat intelligence: Defending the digital platform. Journal of International Technology and Information Management, 26(1), pp.138–160. Raban, Y. & Hauptman, A., 2018. Foresight of cyber security threat drivers and affecting technologies. foresight, 20(4), pp.353–363. Gould, C., 2015. State-sponsored cyber attacks: what companies need to know. Computing, p.20. Gorman, Gavin, and McDonald, Geoff, "Ransomware: A growing menace, "Symantec Security Response, Nov. 8, 2012, accessed April.6, 2019, www.symantec.com/connect/blogs/ransomware-growing-menace.