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Editor's forecast: Policy key to policing systems

2001 forecast

Security policies: Companies are keenly aware that strong companywide security policies are needed. This includes setting policies for detecting and reacting to cybercrime; setting policies to specifically address the awareness that employees and other insiders are causing the most serious threat to companies over outsiders; setting policies that make provisions for strong security budgets.

Layered security: With this year's signing of the electronic signature bill, PKI and biometric products will start to gain more momentum over the next year. Companies are starting to realize that single sign-ons of either a PIN or password are not adequate. A combination of digital signatures, voice/facial/fingerprint recognition and PINs/passwords will be used in layering authentication.

Increased awareness of viruses. Due to the I LOVE YOU virus and the more recent Shockwave virus, employees are getting smarter about what they open in e-mail. But the bad news is that hackers are getting more clever. Should be an interesting year to see how this unfolds. Ongoing employee training will be key.

Hacking pranks turn political. Hackers will continue to reach beyond the prank to make political statements...Buzz term emerging: Hacktivism. Increased hacks will certainly heat up the intrusion detection market.

Privacy rules. E-commerce privacy issues will be more strongly addressed next year due to some so-called unethical tactics by Amazon and other e-tailers.

Security skill in demand. IT security jobs will continue to branch into their own security-specific titles such as Chief Security Officer. In the past, IT security was just a piece of someone's job. Now, security skills are needed desperately.

2000's top stories

"EBay, Amazon, hit by attacks," "Love bug virus costs expected to reach $10 billion," "Microsoft's network suffers hack attack," "Bushwhacked! Hacker defaces GOP site," "Shockwave virus upgraded to high risk." These are but a few of the major headlines for 2000 that brought shivers down the spines of those charged with keeping their companies safe from harm. The upside is that the losses, whether revenue or lowered customer confidence in e-commerce, has put IT professionals in a strong position to demand better security inside and outside of their companies. And the market is reacting to push products and technologies within the reach of shellshocked companies.

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