Cyber view of 2017

by Mark Rowe

Expect threats to the cloud and the Internet of Things (IoT), says Intel Security in its McAfee Labs 2017 Threats Predictions Report. It identifies 14 threat trends to watch in 2017.

The report reflects the informed opinions of 31 Intel Security thought leaders. It examines trends in cybercrime and makes predictions.

Raj Samani, CTO EMEA Intel Security, pictured, said: “This time of year there’s a lot of buzz around the latest technology trends of the new year. With everything from machine learning, IoT, drones and the impending ubiquity of the cloud, gradually changing the face of consumer and corporate tech as we know it, hackers are rubbing their hands together at the prospect of new avenues and tools for attack.

“To overcome the designs of cyber criminals, we need to go beyond understanding the threat landscape to changing the defender-attacker dynamic. This means focusing on six key areas: We need to make it harder for hackers to obtain information and more expensive for them to launch an attack. Meanwhile on the corporate side we must improve visibility, better identify exploitation of legitimacy, improve protection for decentralised data, and detect and protect in agentless environments.”

The 2017 threats predictions run from ransomware, sophisticated hardware and firmware attacks, attacks on “smart home” IoT devices, the use of machine learning to enhance social engineering attacks, to an increase in cooperation between industry and law enforcement:

1. Ransomware attacks will decrease in the second half of 2017 in volume and effectiveness.
2. Windows vulnerability exploits will continue to decline, while those targeting infrastructure software and virtualization software will increase.
3. Hardware and firmware will be increasingly targeted by sophisticated attackers.
4. Hackers using software running on laptops will attempt “dronejackings” for a variety of criminal or hacktivist purposes.
5. Mobile attacks will combine mobile device locks with credential theft, allowing cyber thieves to access such things as banks accounts and credit cards.
6. IoT malware will open backdoors into the connected home that could go undetected for years.
7. Machine learning will accelerate the proliferation of and increase the sophistication of social engineering attacks.
8. Fake ads and purchased “likes” will continue to proliferate and erode trust.
9. Ad wars will escalate and new techniques used by advertisers to deliver ads will be copied by attackers to boost malware delivery capabilities.
10. Hacktivists will play an important role in exposing privacy issues.
11. By increased cooperation between law enforcement and industry, law enforcement take-down operations will put a dent in cybercrime.
12. Threat intelligence sharing will make great developmental strides in 2017.
13. Cyber espionage will become as common in the private sector and criminal underworld as it is among nation-states.
14. Physical and cybersecurity industry players will collaborate to harden products against digital threats.

See the blog post “2017 Predictions Blog”.

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