EMC World 2013: Online privacy obsolete by 2020, predicts RSA chief

Art Coviello talks up dangers of over-sharing online.

The executive chairman of EMC-backed security vendor RSA claims online privacy could become an outdated concept by 2020.

Speaking on the final day of the EMC World conference in Las Vegas, Art Coviello flagged the security risks IT megatrends like cloud and Big Data pose to businesses - a theme he touched on earlier in the week during the event's opening keynote.

This time around, he also spoke at length about how the rise of social networking has led to people sharing increasing amounts of data about themselves online, often with scant regard for their privacy.

"By 2020, quite frankly, I believe not because of any maligned, malicious intent but because we all opt in, we'll have an almost total absence of privacy," he warned.

"[It is becoming increasingly difficult] to separate our physical from our digital lives, our professional from our personal lives, [and] anyone will be able to get access [to that information].

"How are we going to protect ourselves? Especially when the threat environment is going to get a lot more hostile," he asked.

This growing pool of online information, along with the rise in web-based apps and Big Data stores, will result in a broadening of the attack surface, and will require businesses to take a more intelligence-led approach to detecting cyber threats.

This will require companies to draw on Big Data-type technologies to analyse network traffic and activity, for example, to detect anomalies in real-time.

To achieve this, businesses may need to invest in re-skilling their IT security staff and look for ways to share information with other firms about the threats they face.

"Security spending will have to grow somewhat disproportionately to IT spending overall [and] the only reason [for that] is because we have to start swapping out the old model for this new one," he said.

"It is future proof, it won't stop all attacks but it will give us the capability to minimise the damage from attacks and learn from that," Coviello added.

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