The word ‘cyber’ is now firmly entrenched in our day-to-day life because our society today depends so much on technology. Be it the banks that hold your money, the cars you drive, the phones you carry, the government, business and industry, the hospitals that treats you, or the academia- the entire fabric of our society is defined by technology. This digital age brings wealth of opportunities. However, there is a cause for concern.
With each technological invention, the threat surrounding it is increasing. IT and cybersecurity threats are growing in number and strength every year. In year 2016 alone, half a billion records were stolen or lost. The issue of cyber security is as important as technology itself. In order to benefit from these technological innovations, we need to protect them from being hacked, manipulated and controlled.
The hackers stole the show last year. IoT botnets, Crimeware-as-a-service and crypto ransomware were the major cyber attacks of the year 2016. With new drones, autonomous cars, smart city infrastructure, robots, artificial intelligence and plethora of IoT devices coming to market daily, year 2017 will see new data breaches and cyberattacks.
2017 Security Predictions:
1. IoT devices to become targets for botnets/zombies: We can expect zombies to expand beyond the DDoS (distributed denial of service) attacks. With volume of IoT devices manufactured with so many vulnerabilities, hackers may use this as an advantage.
2. Dronejacking may be the next big cyber threat: Drones have become an open target for hackers. Drones are increasingly used by police and government agencies and these can be easily exploited. They can be a great threat if used for espionage and explosive attacks.
3. Cloud adoption will become a good target for criminal attackers: Phishing, fraud and software exploits are still successful, and now the cloud services adds a new dimension to the threat. 99% of businesses have turned to cloud. Data breaches, compromised credentials and broken authentication, hacked interfaces and APIs, exploitable bugs in the program, account hijacking and malicious insiders are some of the cloud security threats.
4. Ransomware will spread faster: Let us not wait until the ‘ransomworm’ (like the traditional CodeRed and Conficker) start to spread the infection across the entire network and create a widespread destruction.
5. The cyber cold war is going to be a scary challenge: In past years, nation-states have reportedly breached other governments’ confidential systems. The time has come when the machines have become the tools of war. The vulnerabilities need a fix immediately, otherwise we can expect at least one civilian casualty.
6. Cyber criminals to leverage machine learning and artificial intelligence (AI): Cyber criminals will start leveraging machine learning to improve malware and attacks challenging the machine learning defences.
With each advance in threat level represented by hackers, cyber criminals, and cyber spies; a new batch of security vendors are cropping up all over the world. Every organization who had underspent on security in previous years, are now ready to invest and hence spending has increased. Spending on IT security is poised to grow tenfold within ten years.
Understanding the nature of our digitally driven world, the online security threats and how the government, business/industry, academia and every individual with a smartphone can deter and defend against potential threats before it is unleashed is a must. So Wake up!! Let us all stay educated on the latest security threats and solutions to improve security and defend our networks.