Information Security Forum launches Threat Horizon 2020

March 26, 2018
Annual Report identifies emerging security themes organizations will face over the next two years as a result of technology change

NEW YORK – March 21, 2018 –The Information Security Forum (ISF), the world's leading, independent authority on cyber security and information risk management, today released Threat Horizon 2020, the latest in a series of annual Threat Horizon reports. Developed for business leaders who need to rapidly grasp emerging information security threats and assess the potential business impacts, Threat Horizon 2020 balances today’s realities with forecasts that push the limits of thinking. The latest report highlights nine major threats, broken down into three themes, that organizations can expect to face over the next two years as a result of increasing developments in technology. The impacts of these threats mirror day-to-day operations in today’s increasingly fractured world.

“Over the next two years, business leaders will face regular and complex decisions about protecting their critical information and systems. Existing solutions that have been relied upon for years will be exposed as inadequate,” said Steve Durbin, Managing Director, ISF. “Only organizations that understand this rapidly changing and complex environment will remain firm and unshakeable. Those that are unprepared and incapable of responding quickly will crumble as they defend against an onslaught of potent, day-to-day cyber-attacks.”

By 2020, nation states will be added to the list of attackers – such as terrorist groups, organized criminals, hacktivists and hackers – that every organization must consider. Working alone, or together, each will be harder to counter than ever, their activities taking no account of land barriers or legislation. In addition, while providing exciting opportunities for organizations to expand and drive efficiency, advances in technology will offer these attackers refined versions of their weapon of choice - cyber.

Threat Horizon 2020 focuses on particularly difficult cybersecurity challenges in a way that is relevant to senior business managers, information security professionals and other key organizational stakeholders. The three key themes in the latest report include:

1 – Conflict Looms: Nation states and terrorist groups will increasingly weaponize the cyber domain, launching attacks on critical national infrastructure that cause widespread destruction and chaos. With power, communications and logistics systems down, organizations will lose the basic building blocks needed for doing business. Heating, air conditioning, lighting, transport, information, communication and a safe working environment will no longer be taken for granted.

2 – Technology Outpaces Controls: Technology has advanced at an astonishing rate in the last decade and the pace is only set to accelerate. Capabilities that seemed impossible only a short time ago will develop extremely quickly, aiding those who see them coming and hindering those who don’t. Developments in smart technology will create new possibilities for organizations of all kinds – but they will also create opportunities for attackers and adversaries by reducing the effectiveness of existing controls. Previously well-protected information will become vulnerable.

3 – Pressure Skews Judgement: Existing controls and methods of managing information risk will be put under severe stress by an avalanche of new technologies, regulations and pressures on employees. Organisations that have a good record of securing information will be at risk of complacency, judging that the way they have always done things will continue to work in the future – a dangerous attitude to take.

“Over the coming years, the very foundations of today’s digital world will shake – violently. Innovative and determined attackers, along with seismic changes to the way organizations conduct their operations, will combine to threaten even the strongest establishments.  Only those with robust preparations will stand tall,” continued Durbin. “Many of the recommendations in Threat Horizon 2020 can be quickly and easily implemented over the next two years to help organizations securely navigate today’s expanding threat landscape with greater confidence.”

Threat Horizon 2020, aimed at senior business executives up to and including board level, provides a practical, forward-looking view of the increasing threats in today’s always-on, interconnected world. This in turn enables a better prepared, strategic approach to managing and mitigating risk. For more information on the report, and to download a copy of the executive summary, please visit

About the Information Security Forum

Founded in 1989, the Information Security Forum (ISF) is an independent, not-for-profit association of leading organizations from around the world. The organization is dedicated to investigating, clarifying and resolving key issues in cyber, information security and risk management and developing best practice methodologies, processes and solutions that meet the business needs of its Members.

ISF Members benefit from harnessing and sharing in-depth knowledge and practical experience drawn from within their organizations and developed through an extensive research and work program. The ISF provides a confidential forum and framework, which ensures that Members adopt leading-edge information security strategies and solutions. By working together, ISF Members avoid the major expenditure required to reach the same goals on their own. Consultancy services are available and provide ISF Members and Non-Members with the opportunity to purchase short-term, professional support activities to supplement the implementation of ISF products.

For more information on ISF membership, please visit