Those who attempt to predict the future run the risk of being wrong. But those who overlook the importance of conducting a prospective analysis adopt a passive attitude that weakens them against the dictatorship of events. Anticipating societal changes prepares us to weather the storm.
That quote comes from the recently published Prospective Analysis on Trends in Cybercrime from 2011 to 2020, by the French General of the Army, Marc Watin-Augouard.
This study was originally published in French by a panel of experts from the public and private sectors. I was one of them.
Our approach was based on the Delphi method, an iterative process of discussion based on a questionnaire developed by a scientific committee, with interim summaries drawn up by an ad-hoc committee. The paperless discussion method was effective and kept participant responses anonymous, which leveled the playing field. The 22 experts who contributed to this study underwent three rounds of individual interviews, allowing them to express their opinions and reformulate their responses based on the results of the group discussions. Their analyses and individual expertise have led to a blank document that outlines typical criminal trends of the 21st century. The process took one year to present the results in this summary.
The result of this work is not an end in itself, but rather a tool to encourage discussion among policy makers, business leaders, and representatives of civil society regarding strategies to maintain the best possible control in a digital world without borders.
McAfee has translated of the results of this new French study on computer-related crime. McAfee, and I, consider this methodical and original research invaluable in explaining the threats we face today and predicting what we might see in the years up to 2020. Armed with this expertise, we can more effectively protect ourselves against future cybercrime.
The English version of the document is available here.