4 Cyber Security Trends You Never Saw Coming
Most of the cyber attacks and data breaches you hear about are of the garden variety. The Sony hack, for example, and data breaches at Ashley Madison are the same types of threats we’re used to seeing. Unfortunately, many businesses are still vulnerable to these types of attacks because it’s difficult to prove that cyber security actually produces a measurable ROI. But beware, those without adequate IT security, because the next generation of threats is already on the way.
1. Spear Phishing and Whaling
One threat you can expect to see escalate is the phishing scam. While typical phishing scams are low-level scams conducted with small budgets and little actual tech savvy, the new breed involves spear phishing, which is smartly engineered using real information about the target. In other words, these emails are constructed using social engineering, not just sent out randomly with the hopes that a few suckers take the bait. Similarly, whaling involves a well-designed spear phishing attack levied against a “whale”, or a high-value target like the CEO or company president.
2. Exploiting Software & App Vulnerabilities
Zero day attacks are nothing new, but the uptick in software backdoors (left both intentionally and unintentionally) and vulnerabilities in mobile apps are becoming a more prominent player in the world of business IT security. Look for at least one significant hack to occur during 2016 involving a backdoor vulnerability or a hack using a vulnerability in a user’s mobile app. As the government pushes harder for intentional backdoors to track terrorist and criminal activity, these attacks will become more common and likely more severe.
3. Cybercrime as a Service
So, we’ve got Software as a Service, Infrastructure as a Service, Platform as a Service, and ... Cybercrime as a Service? Did you read that correctly? Unfortunately, yes, you did. Companies like Cryptolocker are using legitimate business models to levy actual cyber crimes against innocent people and businesses. This product is a ransomware tool, which locks down a user’s systems until they pay a ransom. While Cryptolocker is by no means the only instance of ransomware, it is one of the first to signal the attempt of cyber criminals to “legitimize” their activities using real business models. Since these types of crimes are often committed across national borders, it becomes difficult to impossible to get a trial or conviction for these types of crimes.
4. The IoT
While the white collar world examines all of the ways that the IoT can become a valuable business tool, the black hat world is just as busy finding ways to exploit it for criminal purposes. Some wish to use it for simple data theft. Others want to use it to stick it to the competition. Still more want to levy the IoT in their acts of terrorism (think hactivism), while a lot are just along for the fun of hacking the IoT or the businesses that use these devices. No matter the motivation, the results are similar: expect the mobile breaches this year to be accompanied by a few embarrassing hacks on the IoT.
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