Tip of the Week: Cyber Security Predictions for 2017
The year 2016 saw the Russian hacking scandal, data breaches of major stores and credit card companies, theft of digital health care records and a 400% increase in ransomware attacks on large and small businesses and government entities. Industry experts expect 2017 to surpass last year’s number of attacks and data breaches.
As we move into 2017, cyber security will be a top international security priority for governments, business, and industry. With more devices and technologies coming into play, the challenge to keep data and personal information safe will continue to grow.
Below are our predictions of new ways hackers will target your data:
1). State Sponsored Attacks. 2017 will be a period of continued government hacking activity. Governments and companies must prepare themselves to deal with new forms of highly sophisticated phishing, infiltration, and data leaking campaigns. 2017 will see more collaboration between the public and private sector, as governments and enterprises work together to benefit from shared information against mutual enemies.
2). Internet of Things. The Internet of Things (IoT) will become the biggest sector of attacks on companies. The number of smart devices in use will grow between 20 and 50 billion devices by 2020. As the world embraces the IoT to create connected infrastructure, many new access points to networks and data will also be created. Data protection will move beyond computers and smartphones and will include devices such as thermostats, refrigerators, security cameras and our automobiles, to name only a few. Many IoT devices are built with a focus on affordability rather than security, leaving huge vulnerabilities until IoT security catches up.
3). Data integrity. Data integrity attacks are not new but will continue to be a serious issue for governments and businesses in 2017. Information can be accessed and modified by unauthorized users who manipulate that data for malicious ends. Data integrity attacks have the ability to bring down an entire company, collapse a stock market or manipulate a power grid.
4). DDoS Attacks. 2016 was a big year for DDoS (Distributed Denial of Service) attacks. This is an attempt to make an online service unavailable by overwhelming it with traffic from multiple sources. In October, Internet services were disrupted in the Eastern US with a DDoS attack and in November, hackers used a DDoS attack to halt heating distribution on at least two properties in the city of Lappeenranta, Finland. Additionally, DDoS attacks took down Twitter, Airbnb, Netflix, Reddit, and several major media outlets in 2016. The versatility of these attacks is what makes them so dangerous, and 2017 will see more DDoS attacks than ever.
5). Machine learning. Machine learning is a type of artificial intelligence (AI) that provides computers with the ability to learn without being explicitly programmed. Machine learning focuses on the development of computer programs that can change when exposed to new data. While this development should be welcomed, increasing accessibility to machine learning will also make this new technology available to cyber criminals who will use it for their nefarious purposes.
6). Ransomware (a type of malicious software designed to block access to information until a sum of money is paid): 2016 was considered the year of Ransomware. It will continue to be a problem, but 2017 could also become the year of Jackware, which is malicious software with the ability to take control of a device such as a smart TV, smartphone, or your car’s internal computer. So far, we’ve not seen a case of Jackware for Ransom, but the capabilities are there, just waiting to be exploited.
Cyber threats might be changing, but the motives remain the same. Attacks are largely perpetrated by three classes of criminals: (1) State Actors who work on behalf of foreign governments against the interests of the US, (2) For-profit hackers who steal data for profit and (3) Ideological Actors who attack for political or ideological motives. In 2017, we will see new malicious code, more DDoS attacks, and ransomware will continue as the fastest growing cyber threat along with its new young cousin, jackware. All the while, as we develop new IoT devices, new vulnerabilities will be created for cyber criminals.
You can protect yourself in three ways in 2017. (1) Invest in an analysis of your companies technology infrastructure. Understanding and managing your risk is critical to the development of a successful security plan to keep hackers out of your networks. (2) Commit to eliminating vulnerabilities discovered in your analysis. (3) Train your employees in the use of proper computer security protocols. Having a cyber security aware and engaged workforce is your greatest ally in ensuring your information is secure.
At Rampart Group, we specialize in helping businesses identify and mitigate the human susceptibility to cyber threats. Call 1-800 421-0614 or visit us with your Cyber Security needs.
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We at Rampart Group are committed to your security. Call 1-800 421-0614 or contact us today with your security or investigative needs.