The year ahead: security predictions for 2017

Webroot Pty Ltd

By Dan Slattery, Senior Information Security Analyst, Webroot
Wednesday, 14 December, 2016

The year ahead: security predictions for 2017

No matter what activity you’re engaged in, nor where you are in the world, it’s a fact that cybersecurity has never been more of a necessity. The ‘it won’t happen to me’ attitude is certainly not sustainable for you or your business.

The nature of cyber threats has changed dramatically over the past few years, often making it hard for organisations to keep abreast of the complex issues. And this dynamic nature is expected to continue.

It is possible to effectively protect enterprises and users, but only by understanding the adversary and the techniques that cybercriminals employ for their attacks. This is why it is so important to have an understanding of what’s coming up.

So here are my top three cybersecurity predictions for 2017.

Ransomware will continue to be prevalent

The current iteration of malware — holding a computer for ransom by encrypting local documents — has been around since 2013.

Its widespread and persistent nature means it is a phenomenon recognisable by almost every computer user — in fact, 76% of IT decision-makers across 10 countries reported breaches in 2015.

Since ransomware is so profitable for the attackers, it is going to take major action and cooperation between many different law enforcement agencies around the world to shut it down.

It is critical that both businesses and individuals take action to educate themselves on how to protect their computers and networks to mitigate the risks of ransomware attacks.

Continued IoT attacks

Each year more and more of our devices are becoming internet-enabled and -accessible. In 2016, a large-scale attack used internet-enabled home security cameras because the manufacturers did not put enough effort into securing the devices.

Every time a thermostat, webcam, fridge, lightbulb or coffee machine is connected to the internet, our private data is put at risk.

Businesses and individuals alike must be cognisant of this to ensure that all potential access points such as these are secure.

DDoS attacks will increase

Malware as a Service is on the rise, and with a relatively low barrier to entry, criminals can quickly implement a fresh variant of ransomware, or direct a distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attack at a website or service.

Cybercriminals can easily obtain access to networks of thousands of machines and use them to heavily compromise a website’s server in a DDoS attack that can neuter a website for hours, or even days.

Typically, most of the machines that are part of a DDoS attack are either older computers with unpatched vulnerabilities or those without sufficient antivirus protection.

With cyber threats expected to be more prevalent than ever in 2017, it’s essential for companies to go above and beyond in getting prepared. How confident you are with your current cyber protection? Is it time to revisit that protection?

As we approach 2017, now is an appropriate time to start thinking about these questions. Seeking advice from reputable security experts and/or vendors is an excellent way to help determine the best approach.

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