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2015: Six IT nightmares that will keep us all awake at night

2014 was a pretty rough year from a cybersecurity perspective. So that means that 2015 will be better, right? Right? Yeah, not so much. We'll tell you why.
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Nightmares we'll be dealing with

Are you looking forward to 2015? I know I am. 2014 was okay, but I will definitely be glad to leave it in the past. But as we look forward to 2015, the lessons and experiences of 2014 will haunt us IT folks.

So whether you're a CEO, CTO, CIO, CMO, CDO, CFO, CXO, IT manager or just a rank-and-file engineer, here's a list of what's going to cause nightmares and what we'll be cleaning up throughout the upcoming year.

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2 of 7 David Gewirtz/ZDNET

​Cybersecurity takes a dive

There is no way to put this gently. Cybersecurity in 2015 will get worse. A lot worse. Sony's temporary capitulation on not showing the Interview will embolden activists and enemy actors into more cyberbombings and more demands.

The enemy (by which I also include criminals) has been building more and more knowledge about how we protect ourselves and they will use that gathered information to cause further damage and perpetrate further breaches.

From a security point of view, 2015 will be deeply disturbing.

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Multifactor authentication will be required

My ZDNet colleague John Fontana makes a strong business case why passwords -- even though they are effectively worthless -- won't be going anywhere in the next few years.

That said, multifactor authentication provides something of a defense against penetration attempts and as the J.P. Morgan Chase penetration showed, the lack of multifactor authentication on even one server or user can open the doors to disastrous consequences.

As a result, expect to see service providers begin to make multifactor authentication mandatory, even if it adds complexity. Will Google be first? Probably.

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4 of 7 David Gewirtz/ZDNET

​Plastic credit cards will fade into history

Plastic credit cards are proving harder and harder to protect. Even chipped cards can be compromised. While Apple Pay is far from a universal solution, the ideas behind Apple Pay can make strong strides into eliminating the value criminals get when they steal credit card data during cyberbreaches.

As a result, as the costs mount for both retailers and credit card companies, expect to see more Apple Pay-like services tested in 2015. That's both good and bad, because you can bet the credit card companies and some retailers will launch something that's weak, restrictive, intrusive, and anti-consumer. But over time, especially with Apple in the competitive mix, they're likely to get it somewhat right.

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5 of 7 David Gewirtz/ZDNET

​Russia's tech industry will become more unreliable and possibly predatory

As the Russian ruble implodes, expect to see Russia become even more aggressive against Western nations. Russia and NATO are already sneering at each other over the Ukraine and new Russian doctrine has declared NATO a top threat.

With this in mind, it's important to remember that much of our security software is provided by Russian companies, with Kaspersky at the top of the list. Even companies that are located in the U.S. have outsourced much of their security software development to Russia.

Two years ago, I discussed on ZDNet the questionable loyalties of foreign companies, but if we get back into a cold war with Vlad-the-Putin, then it becomes ever more risky to rely on companies under his control to provide our computer security.

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6 of 7 David Gewirtz/ZDNET

​China's tech ecosystem will become more insular and defensive

The Chinese government is doing something I have recommended to the American government for years: removing all foreign-built technology from their military and defense infrastructure. While this is costly and problematic for American companies which are losing sales, it makes sense that nations as strong and competitive as America and China not rely on frenemies for security.

But as China becomes more insular, it will be harder to sell into the nation, costing American jobs. That said, it is important to remember that most of our hardware is made in China. The two countries already regularly disagree on human rights issues and other topics, but at the same time, both nations are economically reliant on each other.

That's the perfect formula for when subversive economic disruption becomes a tactic. Since the U.S. is more dependent on China right now, we're going to need to watch our back.

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7 of 7 David Gewirtz/ZDNET

​The U.S. government will do something incredibly stupid

This goes without saying, but being what it is, the U.S. government is bound to do something self-destructive.

Whether it's taking payola from entertainment industry lobbyists and trying to destroy our basic constitutional rights, or spying on Americans just because it's too hard not to, or because there is an upcoming Presidential elections and both parties are constitutionally incapable of not trotting out the stupid during election years, something dumb is bound to happen that will get them internets up in arms and legitimately crying foul.

So, yeah. Happy New Year!

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