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The attention being paid to cybersecurity by both government and businesses in the U.S. has reached unprecedented heights, according to a new cybersecurity outlook report from Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher. And that attention is going to keep growing through 2013, partner Alexander Southwell said.
"What we’re going to see is an increase in the prevalence and the sophistication of attacks on core infrastructure companies, along with a broadening of those attacks against all types of companies," said Southwell, co-chair of the firm’s information technology and data privacy practice.
As the attacks grow more sophisticated, he told CorpCounsel.com, there will be "a constant cat-and-mouse game where companies and the government try to prevent such attacks, or at least better prepare for them."
The Gibson report released Wednesday cited an increased focus by the Obama administration on data privacy and security "as the world continues on its path of unprecedented technological transition."
The report discusses the significant legal cases and events of the past year, such as President Obama’s recent executive order to increase the sharing of critical cybersecurity information and his call for legislative action to protect networks and data.
But looking ahead, Southwell predicted three cybersecurity areas will dominate the concerns of general counsel in 2013.
The first is the use of mobile devices and the risk connected to them. "Mobile is increasingly the way that companies are engaging with their customers and the public, and also how many employees are communicating with one another and accessing network resources," Southwell noted. "And there are much more significant security risks that come from that."
He explained that many employees like to use their own mobile devices, and from a cost perspective companies like that, too.
"But with that comes a tension with the [company's] need to protect one’s network. We’ll see that continue to play out, and companies will address it in different ways depending the amount of risk and their financial ability," predicted Southwell, who is also a former assistant U.S. attorney in Manhattan.