February 26, 2017

15 cyber security threats to watch out for

Recently, hackings have been more prominent in world affairs, like the alleged state-sponsored hacks of the last US elections. A hacking of this magnitude only encourages other groups of people to hire hackers for their own ends and usually, these people just follow where the money is. So we’re expecting more hacks and leaks in the coming year as internet privacy continues to degrade.

“Undoubtedly, optimization of cyber-crime turnover was THE trend observed in 2016. And, as with many of the negative aspects in cyber-space, this trend is here to stay. The development and optimization of badware towards profit will remain the main parameter for attack methods, tools and tactics,” the European Union Agency for Network and Information Security (ENISA) report warns.

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Power struggles

The report also adds that criminal elements have been using unsecured Internet of Things (ioT) devices in order to launch large scale distribute denial of service (DDoS) attacks. Extortion attacks against commercial entities and organizations have also been made, which have “achieved very high levels of ransom and high rates of paying victims”. As we mentioned earlier, attacks like these may also have affected the outcomes of democratic processes like elections.

Identity theft remains a persistent threat on people’s lives, as hackers take advantage of advancing consumer technology and negligent technological habits.

More and more, politicians and other people in positions of power are beginning to realize the vast power that one can wield in cyberspace, and power struggles are beginning to take a leap from the physical world to the digital world.

Just like in the real world, it’s the average person who takes the hit from these power struggles. Identity theft remains a persistent threat on people’s lives, as hackers take advantage of advancing consumer technology and negligent technological habits.

Invasion of privacy

ENISA lists malware as a leading cyber threat, with over 600 million samples identified per quarter, followed by ransomware, mobile malware, and information theft, which criminals are only too happy to innovate upon.

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Last year, ENISA listed 15 threats to cyber security that may have an effect on us even this year.

  1. Malware
  2. Web based attacks
  3. Web application attacks
  4. Denial of service
  5. Botnets
  6. Phishing
  7. Spam
  8. Ransomware
  9. Insider threat (malicious, accidental)
  10. Physical manipulation/damage/theft/loss
  11. Exploit kits
  12. Data breaches
  13. Identity theft
  14. Information leakage
  15. Cyber espionage

Mutating threats

Like real-world viruses, today’s malware mutate to evade detection and they do this at an alarming rate. What makes this worse is hackers offering this technology to whoever can pay them. ENISA reports that the “malware-as-a-service” is becoming more and more available, allowing people to rent malware infrastructure to launch ransomware attacks—all for just a few thousand dollars a month.

The all-too popular DDoS attacks, which are frequently used by activists (or hacktivists) to disrupt and disable corporate and government websites, are now used for extortion attempts in an attempt to monetize hacking. Even CEOs are not safe from this, as CEO fraud is also a thing, with significant losses to their companies.

As the world inches closer and closer to widespread mayhem and chaos, criminal elements will seize the opportunity to strike when everyone is vulnerable. So be sure to protect yourselves.