- Looking into the crystal ball
Not that anybody knows for sure what will be happening even a month from now, never mind six months to a year. So here are some of the best guesses about what we will see in 2017 from several dozen vendors and analysts. There are many more than 15 predictions out there, of course, but these are the ones we heard most frequently.
- Internet of malicious things
Internet of Things (IoT) devices –everything from consumer devices to smart meters, medical devices, automobiles and more – have already been conscripted as zombie troops for cyber attackers, due to their limited computing power and the firmware running on them, which in many cases can’t be patched or updated. IoT winners will be those that can code their own solutions to ensure their products are secure.
- Crimeware at your service
Rookie hacktivists and hobby hackers, driven by pop- culture references and increased media attention, will increasingly get into the cybercrime game. They will use off-the-shelf tools for nuisance attacks like web defacement and port scans, plus more damaging attacks through DDoS as a service and Ransomware as a Service (RaaS). While these adversaries won’t have the skills for lateral movement, their attacks could be costly and cause reputational damage to the company brand.
- DDoS: Weapon of mass obstruction
DDoS attack firepower in 2016 increased to frightening levels – rising from 400Gbps bandwidth to 1Tbps or more becoming the norm – thanks to millions of IoT devices lacking even basic security. These attacks require specialized protection that very few organizations in the world today can provide. That firepower will be used sometime in 2017 to take down critical infrastructure and even the internet infrastructure of whole countries in support of a physical military attack.
- Increasing Cloudiness
Financial institutions have been slow to adopt the cloud. However, with more compliance, and better security features in the cloud, more of these companies will no longer be able to ignore its benefits. But enterprises will need to shift their security focus from endpoint devices to users and information across all applications and services to guard against ransomware and other attacks. Cloud Security-as-a-Service will cut the cost of purchasing and maintaining firewalls.
- Spy vs. Spy
Drones will be used for espionage and attacks as well, with efforts beginning to hack into drone signals and allow “dronejacking” in a few more years. As was the case in 2016 with the Trident incident, which leveraged mobile browser vulnerabilities and the latest iOS JPEG zero-day, more espionage campaigns will target mobile, benefiting from the security industry’s struggle to gain full access to mobile operating systems for forensic analysis.
- Hack the vote
Hacking will become a common technique for opposition research that will trickle down from the presidential election to House, Senate and state contests. The damage to public figures could range from embarrassment, like the hack of the Democratic National Committee, to physical danger from the use of location data to launch a physical attack.
- Taking terror online
Think takedowns of traffic lights, portions of the power grid, water systems, etc. – they might not cause catastrophic damage, but they will disrupt daily life. But because of attribution difficulty with cyberattacks, made even more difficult through the widespread use of misdirection (generally known as false flags) there will be considerable ambiguity about the attacker’s identity.
- Open season on open source
Open source has become the foundation of global app development because it reduces development costs, promotes innovation, speeds time to market and increases productivity. But hackers have learned that applications are the weak spot in most organizations’ cyber security defenses, and that companies are doing an abysmal job of securing and managing their code, even when patches are available.
- Betting on insurance
After spending $81.6 billion on security technology in 2016 (Gartner), and still seeing breaches continue and ROI on security solutions hitting all-time lows, companies will figure insurance is a better bet. But insurers, while be happy for the added business, won’t be handing out claims money easily. As attacks become more common and damages more widespread, some insurers will cut back their cyber liability offerings.
- Catch the phish
Nearly all enterprise hacks begin with phishing, in spite of employee training conducted on security best practices – workers are human, and therefore, will always be fallible. Nearly all enterprise hacks begin with phishing, in spite of employee training conducted on security best practices – workers are human, and therefore, will always be fallible.
- Ransomware everywhere
Ransomware will continue to increase, evolve, get stealthier and use automation to attack the cloud, medical devices like MRI machines pace makers, critical infrastructure and mission-critical servers. However, the unlikely “trust” relationship between ransomware victims and attackers – based on the assumption that payment will result in the return of data – will decline as a lesser grade of criminal enters the space.
- The long privacy goodbye
Government surveillance will increase and become more intrusive, through use of the kind of tracking and targeting tools used in advertising to monitor alleged activists and dissidents. 2017 will be a pivotal year in the 25-plus-year debate about information, privacy, and security.
- Gentlemen, start your attack surfaces
Modern cars, typically containing more than 100 million lines of code, are increasingly intelligent, automated, and most importantly, Internet-connected. But carmakers don’t know exactly what software is inside their vehicles because it comes from third parties and almost certainly contains open-source components with security vulnerabilities – a target-rich environment for hackers.
- Faking it
Fakers are already a problem – users who download your app, log in regularly and even make purchases might not be real. And with the decreased effectiveness of CAPTCHAs, SMS and email verification are also becoming an easy barrier to overcome for fraudsters opening fake accounts. This will get worse in 2017 as advertisers and ad platforms adopt more sophisticated tracking technology and fraudsters become more experienced at mimicking the behavior of real users.
- Skills gap? Use automation
With the security skills gap approaching Grand Canyon dimensions, organizations will look to automation so skilled workers won’t have to waste time on manual, mundane responsibilities and regularly performed duties. Automation will also help the pros to do their jobs more effectively. They will receive fewer notifications with more relevance, relieving them of the manual task of hunting through a sea of alerts to find the truly malicious ones.