2017 Cyber Security Trends
Estimated reading time: 4 minutes
Since 2016 has ended, multiple industries commence on fine-tuning their business strategies for 2017. Cyber criminals are making exactly the same strategies so they can work smarter. Criminals are getting smarter by exploring new practices, building organizations, bringing human expertise for more sophisticated and specialized cyber attacks. It’s like we have action and then reaction cycle, enterprise organizations are planning or implementing security measures so they become attentive in their reactions. Let’s flash back to 2016 's stats, to find devastating data breaches spanning across multiple large and small industries.
Few recent cyber attacks in 2016:
According to the ITRC (Identity Theft Resource Center), as of November 1st of 2016, there were 845 reported breaches, exposing 29,765,131 records (Keep in mind that, this does not include the majority of breaches in which companies usually did not report the number of records affected). These breaches are targeting high-value data (includes confidential data like Health information, classified information related to Governments, Phishing etc).
So… what will 2017 bring? We expect to see the following security threats and trends:
BYOD – Smart Phones Having Smart Malware
People who are unaware of the technology and security might assume that malware is relatively unchanging, but their concept is partially wrong. Smart applications designs are continuously improving. Those improvements mean the ability to bypass security controls, and data exfiltration through advance deception methods.
As a result, we can expect to see high-value data breaches that originate on BYOD - bring your own device - (Smart Phones / Mobiles). Nowadays, newer application versions consume less computing power, causing less lag which means they are good at remaining fully undetected. The late discovery could result in more files being stolen which is becoming a major corporate security concern. As you may be aware, recent state-sponsored attacks on journalists’ smartphones mean attack methods are now in the feral and we should expect to see more organized crime.
Ransomware Threat Prevention
It’s most pervasive cyber threat since 2005. According to publicly available information, Ransomware infections have outnumbered data breaches more than 7,000 over the past 11 years (Francis, 2016). Since then, Ransomware has become an “attend” tool of choice for many cyber criminals. Ransom attacks are projected to increase 20-fold over the next year. With all this success, their increase in frequency is somewhat expected.
Prevention of Ransomware for an enterprise is one of the costs of doing business; it becomes prevalent as distributed denial of service attacks. Given success rate, enterprises will have to deploy a multi-faceted prevention strategy like advanced sandboxing and threat extraction for effective enterprise infrastructure protection. We are expecting to see more targeted attacks to influence an organization, with “legitimate” actors launching such attacks.
Internet of Things (IoT)
The Internet of Things (IoT) is quickly becoming a way of life; unfortunately, this shift comes with additional risk. IoT will continue to create never-ending shocking stories because these devices are not so secure. In the coming year, we expect to see further research, an increase in data-harvesting attacks and POC (proofs of concepts) demonstrating vulnerability against these devices as well. The convergence of informational technology and operational technology is making environments more vulnerable. The security concerns around the IoT will become similar to the set of security concerns around SCADA. Environments often run legacy systems which are obsolete or whose patches are not available. The industry should look towards best practices like NIST and others have formulated.
Using IT as a service to cut down the capital cost provides an opportunity for enterprise to build their infrastructure in the cloud so they are continuously putting more data on the cloud, which lead towards the backdoor chance for hackers to access enterprise systems, to disrupt or take down a major cloud provider will affect all of their clients’ businesses. There will also be a rise in Ransomware attacks impacting cloud-based data centers. These attacks will start finding their way through spreading encrypted files from cloud to cloud.
Cyber criminals are thinking way beyond that. These perpetrators are well prepared and have their eyes set on insider trading and market manipulation. Over the past few years, we have seen widely publicized breaches carried out by different groups. Sometimes, hackers obtain credentials through sophisticated spear phishing attacks in order to hit the confidentiality by accessing classified information regarding upcoming mergers, or other times, hackers gained access to news media outlets to disclose non-public corporate information like financial restatements and traded on that information prior to public release, making billions. Due to these opportunities for important payouts, such frauds will increase.
In the future, enterprise organizations will see an increase in cyber attacks or intrusions that are sophisticatedly designed. Cyber criminals will continue to exploit their success and venture into more money making schemes via market manipulation.
So mid-size or enterprise organizations can protect themselves via implementing stronger controls and awareness programs like employee training, proper reporting procedures. It’s better to couple these controls with well-tailored cyber insurance policies.
Francis, R. (2016, July 20). The history of ransomware | CSO Online. Retrieved from http://www.csoonline.com/article/3095956/data-breach/the-history-of-ransomware.html#slide1