23 December 2015

The report this week focuses on looking at the opportunities and challenges that 2016 may present in the ICT sector.

In Europe, it was reported this week that Russia faces a considerable issue with it’s cyber-security environment, with businesses in the country forecast to lose almost US$ 1 bn (70 billion rubles £662 million) from cyber-attacks this year and this figure is expected to continue to grow in the near future.

In other news, technology giant Apple has called upon the UK government to rethink the draft Investigatory Powers Bill. The company has submitted an eight-page-long document outlining it’s opposition to the draft bill as it is currently composed. In its current form, the Bill, if passed, would make it obligatory for ISPs to keep users’ browsing history for a year, as well as give the police backdoors to any of their services.

In the US, cyber-security related headlines gained prominence, with the announcement this week that the Pentagon is considering stepping up its cyber warfare against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS). According to several unnamed U.S. officials, Government hackers have created a slate of tools that could be deployed to sabotage the extremist group’s online recruitment efforts.

Furthermore, encryption featured heavily once again this week in the US news sources, with several news releases suggesting that debates around encryption, national security and privacy are likely to continue to heat up next year.

A particularly quiet week from a Pan-Asian perspective, with the news of note being that China will continue to take on bigger responsibilities and push for new rules in the cyber sphere following the conclusion of the World Internet Conference in Wuzhen.

Elsewhere, developments of interest included the temporary shut-down of communications app ‘WhatsApp’ in Brazil, the admission of responsibility by Anonymous regarding the DDos attacks on Turkish servers and finally, the announcement from Ovum that 2016 will witness in excess of $37 billion spent on cyber-security measures/protection globally.

Finally, developments of interest related to Global institutions this week witnessed ITU members agree an international standard for Big Data as well as agreement forged within the UN to keep control of the internet out of the hands of international governments, at least for the next decade, following the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS).