InterWorking Labs is saving the world from network failures. As a result, we pay attention to failures that are imminent. Here are our predictions for 2013:
1A major stock exchange will have a catastrophic network failure that cascades through other exchanges and forces trading to halt in world markets. Trading will be halted for more than a day, possibly much longer. The failure will have multiple causes including undiscovered flaws corrupting trades in unanticipated ways. For example, no owners or multiple owners after a trade. The cleanup could be extraordinary, even impossible, as there would be no equitable or principled way to decide who wins and who loses. It could take weeks to sort through all the transactions and make sense of them again. Losses will be in the billions of dollars.
2Social networking sites will face new lawsuits, not based on privacy issues (as many think), but based on the publication of false and misleading data. It will be called "drive by defamation". The source of this incorrect data will turn out to be hackers and pranksters who easily defeated the weak security of the social networking sites. Rather than address their network security issues, most social networking sites will instead vigorously fight the lawsuits. Internet security experts will step forward and demonstrate the security flaws of the sites. By the end of 2013, the only remaining social networking sites will be the ones with very strong network security and authentication.
3After a dozen or so cyber attacks against US military intelligence during 2013, the US Department of Defense will understand that it must shift priorities to cyber security instead of military bases, gear, and troops. However, it will be unable to do so because of the budget cycle. The cyber attacks will continue and escalate. They will be covered up in the interests of "national security".
4By the end of 2013, the debate about a nationwide fiber infrastructure will begin. (What would it mean if all Americans had fiber to the home, giving them 24x7 access to the Internet with 100 Mbps links -- several times their current speed?). The debate will be quickly shut down by the carriers and the FCC in the name of the "security and stability of the Internet".
5Because of the immense pressure to "engage with social media", everyone with a Twitter account will follow everyone else with a Twitter account (all 500 million of them). This will radically alter the culture of Twitter so that the popularity contest of who has the most followers becomes irrelevant. Twitter management will hold a lot of off-site meetings to rethink the strategy. (Okay ... we are joking.)