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Foresight of evolving security threats posed by emerging technologies

Foresight of evolving security threats posed by emerging technologies Purpose – Many emerging technologies are being developed in an accelerating pace and are key drivers of future change. In foresight studies, usually their positive impact on the quality of life is considered or their negative environmental effects. This paper seeks to draw attention to an overlooked “dark side” of new technologies: their potential abuse by terrorists or organized crime. Recent cybercrime events are examples of abuse that perhaps could have been minimized if appropriate foresight studies were performed years ago. This was the aim of the recently completed EU‐funded project FESTOS. Design/methodology/approach – Several foresight methodologies were employed. Following a horizon scanning for potentially threatening technologies, a Delphi‐type expert survey helped to evaluate critical threat characteristics of selected 33 technologies: the likelihood that each technology will actually come to pose a security threat (in different time frames), the easiness of its malicious use, the severity of the threat, and the most threatened societal spheres. Findings – The results enabled ranking the technologies by their “abuse potential” and “threat intensity”. Certain emerging technologies (or their combinations), regarded as “weak signals”, inspired ideas for potential “wild cards”. In a subsequent workshop, which employed a variant of the “futures wheel” method, four wild‐card “scenario sketches” were constructed. These were later developed to full narrative scenarios. Originality/value – The entire process enables the introduction of security foresight into policy planning in a long‐range perspective. The foresight results were followed by the evaluation of policy implications and coping with the knowledge control dilemma. The paper illustrates how a mix of foresight methods can help in a continuous analysis of new and threats posed by emerging technologies, thus raising awareness of decision makers and mitigating the risk of unforeseen surprises. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png foresight Emerald Publishing

Foresight of evolving security threats posed by emerging technologies

foresight , Volume 15 (5): 17 – Sep 13, 2013

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References (1)

Publisher
Emerald Publishing
Copyright
Copyright © 2013 Emerald Group Publishing Limited. All rights reserved.
ISSN
1463-6689
DOI
10.1108/FS-05-2012-0036
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Purpose – Many emerging technologies are being developed in an accelerating pace and are key drivers of future change. In foresight studies, usually their positive impact on the quality of life is considered or their negative environmental effects. This paper seeks to draw attention to an overlooked “dark side” of new technologies: their potential abuse by terrorists or organized crime. Recent cybercrime events are examples of abuse that perhaps could have been minimized if appropriate foresight studies were performed years ago. This was the aim of the recently completed EU‐funded project FESTOS. Design/methodology/approach – Several foresight methodologies were employed. Following a horizon scanning for potentially threatening technologies, a Delphi‐type expert survey helped to evaluate critical threat characteristics of selected 33 technologies: the likelihood that each technology will actually come to pose a security threat (in different time frames), the easiness of its malicious use, the severity of the threat, and the most threatened societal spheres. Findings – The results enabled ranking the technologies by their “abuse potential” and “threat intensity”. Certain emerging technologies (or their combinations), regarded as “weak signals”, inspired ideas for potential “wild cards”. In a subsequent workshop, which employed a variant of the “futures wheel” method, four wild‐card “scenario sketches” were constructed. These were later developed to full narrative scenarios. Originality/value – The entire process enables the introduction of security foresight into policy planning in a long‐range perspective. The foresight results were followed by the evaluation of policy implications and coping with the knowledge control dilemma. The paper illustrates how a mix of foresight methods can help in a continuous analysis of new and threats posed by emerging technologies, thus raising awareness of decision makers and mitigating the risk of unforeseen surprises.

Journal

foresightEmerald Publishing

Published: Sep 13, 2013

Keywords: Foresight; Security; Emerging technologies; Future threats; Signals of change; Wild cards

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