Cyber attacks could soon threaten critical infrastructure, wearable technology and even medical implants, according to a study conducted by Europol’s European Cybercrime Centre (EC3) and the International Cyber Security Protection Alliance (ICSPA).

to endanger the cyber security and reputation of individuals, companies and governments alike, the study’s authors warn.

The White Paper – Scenarios for the Future of Cybercrime – is the first research paper to emerge from the ICSPA’s Project 2020, which brings together the European Union’s law enforcement agency dedicated to fighting cybercrime, the European Cyber Crime Centre (EC3) and ICSPA members and partners from business, government, law enforcement and academia.

The study establishes a baseline assessment of current cyber threats – from Hacktivism and social engineering to Crime-as-a-Service attacks – and outlines a range of threat scenarios for the year 2020, in a world where society and second-generation digital natives depend on the secure running of deeply embedded technologies.

The study warns that it is not only personal and corporate reputations that are under threat, but that emerging technologies will “increasingly blur” the distinction between cyber and physical assaults. Attacks on augmented and virtual reality technologies, meanwhile, could result in serious “psychological harm to individuals”.

“We don’t just have to ask ourselves ‘how can we fight these threats’, but also ‘who will fight them?’,” said John Lyons, the Chief Executive of ICSPA. “To meet the challenges of cybercrime, we need to become more creative and flexible. We must make sure law enforcement, criminal justice, governments and business pull in the same direction, but they have to do so without trampling on their citizen’s expectations of privacy and anonymity.”

“The Internet delivers tremendous societal and economic advantages to nations that have learned how to harness the significant benefits that derive from ubiquitous online computing and communications systems.  With Project 2020 we don’t predict the future, but we ask the questions that need to be answered to keep us all safe,” Lyons said.

Supporting the launch, digital information security firm Trend Micro will launch a series of web videos to get people thinking about the threats and how to prepare for them. “The future of technology, its uses and abuses will affect every one of us,” said Rik Ferguson, Global VP of Security Research at Trend Micro.

The ICSPA is a not-for-profit, business-backed global Alliance – with members and partners from business, government, law enforcement and academia – that seeks to enhance the online safety and security of business communities by assisting governments and law enforcement agencies in the fight against cybercrime. With a membership network spanning many regions of the world, the ICSPA delivers its mandate by acting as a bridge for the flow of resources and expertise from the private sector to governments and law enforcement authorities.

For more information and to download The White Paper – Scenarios for the Future of Cybercrime click the link below:

Project 2020