AppRiver security analysts Troy Gill and David Pickett took a peek in their crystal ball to see what cyber threats we may see in 2018.
These predictions as well as a look back at 2017 can be found in AppRiver's Global Security Report.
Large Data Breaches effects will be felt
With the volume of personal data the has fallen into the wrong hands over the past year, when will the rooster come home to roost? The data from the Equifax breach has the potential to result in identity theft on the level that has never been seen before. Widespread credit fraud could cause a good deal of hysteria for consumers and lenders. This activity could include a laundry list of fraudulent activities done in someone else’s name – such as opening credit cards, applying for mortgages, filing fake tax returns, receiving medical treatment and collecting Social Security benefits.
Attacks from Trusted Sources
Between the resurgence in phishing attacks and the volumes of stolen personal data available online, we expect to see more malicious attacks leveraged from hacked accounts and profiles. A perfect example of this is the CHA attacks. We expect to see crybercriminals expound upon this effort in 2018.
We witness large data breaches every year but the severity of the Equifax breach and Uber hack cover-up will increase regulation. More security breach notifications laws will be passed regarding incident handling and how it will be required to be reported to regulators, law enforcement, financial institutions, and consumers.
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Unpatched vulnerabilities will be exploited
The Eternal Blue exploit is a great example of unpatched vulnerabilities. This exploit had been released publicly and a patch had been released months before the WannaCry attacks that lead to so much hysteria across the globe. Despite the fair warning, WannaCry was able to cause havoc once released into the wild. It’s not that most organizations just don’t care about applying patches but there may be other reasons for this as well. In some cases, the sheer volume of patches may be difficult to manage for some IT departments. Patches also can disrupt a network and therefore disrupt operations and productivity.
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The worst is yet to come for IOT botnets
The Internet of Things (IoT) continues to grow, and internet-connected devices are quickly becoming standard for mainstream consumers. There have been very few reports so far indicating reliance upon these devices have caused physical harm to the consumer. Unfortunately, we expect as they become more widely adopted intended and unintended physical consequences will occur to consumers. One thing is certain, IoT botnets will continue to evolve, expand and increase in sophistication.
State Sponsored Attacks will increase
The distinction between criminal hackers and state-sponsored attacks will be harder to distinguish. A few notable examples are detailed below.
- This year’s WannaCry attack was reported to be the work of a North Korean project gone awry.
- South Korean cryptocurrency exchanges have been targeted by North Korea.
- Alleged Russian backed APT28 attacks for espionage purposes.
Ransomware will continue to expand and proliferate
Ransomware as a Service will continue to grow enabling people with no hacking skill to attack others using this framework. Malware providers typically take a cut of paid ransoms and provide all the infrastructure. Cerber is a large example for this occurring this year. Botnets such as Necurs will continue to distribute ransomware on a global scale.
Cryptocurrency Theft and Mining
Malware that not only looks for traditional financial information but also cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin has been around for years. However, we have noticed an increase in the volume of malicious files that also have this capability. As more cryptocurrencies are embraced and the value continues to rise, we expect malware authors will build on capabilities to steal cryptocurrency payment information and wallets.
Some web sites have begun to use scripts which utilize the processing power of visitors machines to mine for cryptocurrencies. We fully expect the nefarious sites will continue to use sneaky techniques such as hidden windows that persist even when a user closes the browser window and other similar methods.
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