22nd July 2016
The Future of Espionage: What Techniques Will Spies be Using in Ten Years’ Time?
For this month’s Big Question, Wired Magazine asked five experts about the spy agencies of tomorrow…
Director of Cybersecurity Consulting, Crypta Labs
“Agencies’ use of Stuxnet-type worms – similar to those that sabotaged Iran’s nuclear activities – could be part of both intelligence and war programmes. These would infiltrate critical infrastructure to facilitate attacks. AI may be used to predict crime by identifying patterns in data based on historical elements. This can include data from censuses, locations of nightclubs, religious centres, stadiums, schools, etc.”
Senior vice president, ICS Secure
“There is a move from espionage threats against the IT and intelligence systems to economic and political threats against our infrastructure. Cyberattacks we see now against physical systems are ‘advanced persistent threats’, created by their handlers with a long-term set of objectives or political agendas. The mistakes we are making today may not be exploited for years, but they will be exploited some day.”
Privacy law professor, Washington University School of Law
“Connected objects will have voice interfaces that allow you to speak commands. But for them to work, they need to be listening. These technologies will be a treasure trove of data for our security services, turning your internet of things into an internet of spies. In the future, you’ll have to worry as much about whether you can trust the discretion of your kettle as about whether someone is listening when you’re on the phone.”
Senior researcher, Blavatnik Interdisciplinary Cyber Research Center, Tel Aviv University
“The new spy will be less James Bond, more data scientist. Supercomputers and artificial intelligence will use distributed computing models to identify patterns in unstructured data. Nanobots with sensors will track organic and chemical compounds. Intelligence agencies will remotely manipulate satellites and fully autonomous cyberattack drones will use digital tools to disrupt communications.”
Journalist; MI5 whistleblower
“Algorithms will scan images to predict if someone is acting dangerously. Interconnected with Facebook recognition, phone tracking and CCTV networks, this tech may help intelligence agencies identify you in real time and follow you. That might catch a few people – but I doubt it. The margin of error is so great. And it’s already being used: during the 2011 royal wedding, known activists were pre-emptively arrested for 24 hours, based on what they’d said on Facebook. Once you link all the technologies, you very quickly get to an Orwellian state.”
This article was originally featured in Wired Magazine, July 2016. You can view the original article here.