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Cybersecurity Threats Fast-Forward 2030: Fasten your Security-Belt Before the Ride!

November 2022 by ENISA

The infographic released today by the European Union Agency for Cybersecurity (ENISA) highlights the top cybersecurity threats likely to emerge by 2030.

What are the TOP 10 emerging cybersecurity threats?

Supply chain compromise of software dependencies
Advanced disinformation campaigns
Rise of digital surveillance authoritarianism/loss of privacy
Human error and exploited legacy systems within cyber-physical ecosystems
Targeted attacks enhanced by smart device data
Lack of analysis and control of space-based infrastructure and objects
Rise of advanced hybrid threats
Skills shortage
Cross-border ICT service providers as a single point of failure
Artificial intelligence abuse

ENISA has identified and ranked the 10 top cybersecurity threats to emerge by 2030, after engaging in an 8-month foresight exercise. With the support of the ENISA Foresight Expert Group, the CSIRTs Network and the EU CyCLONe experts, ENISA brainstormed in a Threat Identification Workshop to find solutions to the emerging challenges in the horizon of 2030.

ENISA Executive Director, Juhan Lepassaar declared: "The mitigation of future risks cannot be postponed or avoided. This is why any insight into the future is our best insurance plan. As the saying goes: "prevention is better than cure". It is our responsibility to take all measures possible upfront to ensure we increase our resilience over the years for an improved cybersecurity landscape in 2030 and beyond.”

The exercise shows that the threats identified and ranked stand as extremely diversified and still include those mostly relevant today. What we learn is that today’s threats will remain to be addressed as they will have shifted in character. We also observe that increased dependencies and the popularisation of new technologies are essential factors driving the changes. Such factors add to the complexity of the exercise and thus make our understanding of threats even more challenging.

The foresight analysis is an essential tool to assess how threats are likely to evolve. The conclusions of this exercise are meant to serve as an incentive to take action.


Backstage: foresight techniques used in a nutshell

Performed between March and August 2022, the methodology included collaborative exploration based on the analysis of political, economic, social and technological factors also know as PESTLE analysis, threat identification and threat prioritisation workshops.

The study considered the four groups of threat actors as referred to in the ENISA Threat Landscape report and used the current threat taxonomy dividing threats into high-level categories with a specific focus on intentional threats.

In order to identify threats, experts involved in the project resorted to science fiction prototyping or SFP. SFP consists of stories allowing participants to explore a variety of futures approached by different angles. SFP is based on a future scenario derived from trends and experienced from the point of view of a fictional character.

Also used to identify threats, the threatcasting methodology draws from traditional futures studies and military strategic thinking. The idea was to infer models of future environments using research. The analysis therefore included scenario planning techniques and 5 scenarios were devised:

Blockchain, deepfakes & cybercrime in a data-rich environment;
Eco-friendly, sustainable, and interconnected smart cities (non-state actors);
More data, less control;
Sustainable energy, automated/short-term workforce;
Legislation, bias, extinctions & global threats.

Horizontal Working Party on Cyber Issues visit to ENISA

The Horizontal Working Party on Cyber Issues representatives from all Members States paid a study visit to the ENISA headquarters in Athens this Friday. The 2030 threats were presented to kick off the discussion on cyber crisis management in the EU, on the Directive on Network and Information Security Systems (NIS2) strategy and on certification.

Foresight at ENISA

With the work on foresight initiated with ENISA’s first report “Foresight on Emerging and Future Cybersecurity Challenges”, ENISA seeks to improve the EU’s cybersecurity resilience, by increasing awareness of future threats and promoting countermeasures amongst EU Member States and stakeholders.

Further information

Established by the Directive on Network and Information Security Systems (NIS Directive) in 2016, the Cybersecurity Incident Response Teams or CSIRT network includes the appointed CSIRTs and CERT-EU of EU Member States with the European Commission as an observer. ENISA’s role is to support the CSIRTs network for incident coordination upon request and to provide administrative support. The purpose of the network is to improve the handling of cross-border incidents and identify how to respond to specific indidents in a coordinated manner.

Launched during the second edition of the Blue Olex in 2020, the EU Cyber Crisis Liaison Organisation Network or EU CyCLONe is meant to establish the cooperation of the appointed national agencies and authorities in charge of cyber crisis management and act as a bridge between the EU CSIRTs Network (technical level) and the EU political level. The European Cyber Crises Liaison Organisation Network (EU CyCLONe) will be formally established by the revised NIS Directive.

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