2018 will certainly be an interesting and challenging year

This is an abridged version of my full article which can be accessed HERE

So what are the Security trends for this year? 2018, the centenary year of the end of the War to end all Wars, World War One.  How curious that 100 years on we are seeing renewed European turmoil with BREXIT and an increased nationalist fervour in many regions across the globe.  Is this a major security concern for 2018 or what is?

Having been involved in the wider security business for many years, primarily as an intelligence officer before turning to writing, I am used to looking at trends and teasing out subtleties. The impact of subtle changes to the threats we have been experiencing over recent years will become evident.  These subtle changes are probably the most dangerous, as they can catch us unawares, believing our current processes, procedures, policies and kit are good enough.

A continuing threat that will remain the scourge of 2018 in the press, public opinion and government focus, will be the threat of terrorism.

Low tech, cyber inspired ‘lone wolf’ attacks are likely to continue, interspersed with the odd sophisticated high-tech attack such as we saw in Manchester.  However, in the UK we must put this into context, the biggest threat region in the UK remains Northern Ireland, 2016/17 saw 8 murders, 55 bombs, 113 shootings, 80 guns recovered, 53kg of explosives recovered and 244 terror-related arrests.

The next area of concern and one that will touch everyone, remains the issue of the Cyber Threat.   Setting the cyber terror or cyber-enabled terror threat to one side the criminal and state use of the cyber environment is becoming very interesting and will likely be the dominant threat through 2018. Cyber attacks as a Service, GDPR as a weapon and bot bitcoin mining are all cries we will hear more of.

I will group my final predictions into one band that I will call novel threats.  The first of these is what Donald Trump refers to as Fake News.  It’s nothing new, propaganda, information operations, deception operations are all phrases to describe the same thing.  Influencing decision making by the manipulation of people’s perceptions and thinking. In the commercial world, this is marketing except customers vote with their money not via a ballot box.

The final threat and one which is most likely to kill and injure the most people through 2018 is that which comes from man-made and natural disasters.  The man-made disasters are frequently war causing mass population movement as we have seen from Syria and Iraq.  The Natural disasters are caused by weather, volcanos, earthquakes, tsunamis and in particular, a disease will trump (no pun intended) the damage from any other threat.  Dr Tedros Adhanom is the director general of the World Health Organization warned in a summit in Dubai this month that, “Humanity is ‘vulnerable’ to a pandemic that could kill millions.”  Security, including humanitarian support to people affected by disasters, should be the biggest effort through 2018.

2018 will certainly be an interesting and challenging year for all of us involved in the security industry.

This is an abridged version of my full article which can be accessed HERE