January 2018 is over, we’re now on to the second month of the new year. Indications are that 2018 would be as eventful as 2017 was, as regards cyber crimes and cyber attacks. The much-evolved versions of the cyber threats that we had witnessed in 2017 would make their appearances in 2018 and pose threats to our businesses, sensitive personal data and privacy, despite businesses being armed with antivirus protection and other security software. Hackers would continue to target our PCs, smartphones, office computers etc and would even hack the IoT devices that we use. The cyber crime landscape is indeed expanding and as years pass by, threats continue to evolve. Today we have malware that would bypass our free antivirus software (or even the paid ones) and cause us much damage.
In this scenario, it’s imperative that we gain knowledge that would help us combat cyber crimes and thwart all those attacks that come our way.
Here’s a look at the different kinds of threats that are likely to be trending in 2019:
2017 was in a way the year of the ransomware, with the WannaCry attack and the NotPetya attack taking things to unprecedented scales. At the same time, 2017 also witnessed a sea change in the strategies and intentions of ransomware criminals. While earlier ransomware was used basically to earn money, 2017 saw hackers using it for other purposes as well, which remained rather unclear. Experts believe it could be a cover-up for nation-state attacks or could be for carrying out industry espionage. Such inferences are natural since ransomware attacks in the recent months were much different from earlier ones; the ransomware used were poorly coded and flawed and it was rather impossible to recover the files that are encrypted. Thus, it becomes evident that it’s not money that the hackers are after, their real intention is something else. They could even be thinking of infecting systems and then using them for some other campaign, including spying on users. 2019 could see more of such ransomware attacks that would be targeted at concealing spying activities, launching other campaigns etc.
The Cryptocurrency trend…
Cybercriminals today are trying their best to make the most of the cryptocurrency trend. This is a global trend, the business of digital currencies is booming and 2019 would most probably witness cyber criminals engaged in different activities related to digital currencies- cryptocurrency mining, fake cryptocurrency investments, exchange scams etc.
Exploiting IoT devices
Experts believe that 2019 would see an increase in the trend to exploit IoT (Internet of Things) devices to create botnets and use the same to attack servers. This would help hackers steal data. The issue with IoT device hacking is that most of the time the victims won’t even realize that their IoT device (router, webcam etc) had been hacked and hijacked and is being used as a botnet. The results could be disastrous. 2019 could see such attacks happening on an unprecedented scale, as per cyber security experts.
We all use mobile devices, but many of us are not bothered about securing them with antivirus programs the way we secure our computers. The fact, however, is that mobile threats are now on the rise and cyber criminals would want to hack into our mobile devices and get away with all kinds of data- banking info, credit card data, photos, data stored in our emails etc. 2019 would definitely see an increase in mobile threats and also in mobile banking threats, mobile ransomware, and fake apps.
2019 would see an increase in attacks using fileless malware. Fileless malware reside on the RAM of computers and usually don’t install anything on these systems. It would usually use Windows tools (like Powershell) to execute and would even bypass antivirus protection, thus leaving no traces behind. Hackers can also use fileless malware on a system to further infect machines in the same network and thereby take control of the whole network.
Cyber criminals are always interested in carrying out data breaches of all kinds. Once they lay their hand on data belonging to an enterprise or its customers, they can use the same data to perform various types of other attacks. They could also use the same to mint money. Hence, data breaches are among the all-time favorites of cyber criminals and today, with SaaS (Software as a Service) gaining immense popularity, hackers are always on the prowl to breach poorly secured data. 2019 would definitely see a rise in various kinds of data breaches.
Attacks using machine learning technology
This has been showing an increasing trend in recent years; hackers have been using machine learning technology to circumvent a security company’s machine learning algorithms and carry out attacks. 2019 could see an increase in such attacks wherein hackers would try to find the blind sports in machine learning detection systems and exploit the same. Hackers would also exploit AI tools to launch malware attacks, especially highly sophisticated spear phishing campaigns and steal data.