Security in 2017 and Beyond: Symantec’s Predictions for the Year Ahead

Security in 2017 and Beyond: Symantec’s Predictions for the Year Ahead

Each year, the security industry faces new types of threats as cybercriminals evolve their approach towards accessing organizations’ data. With Singapore’s cyber development and Smart Nation aspirations, it is a collective responsibility to ensure that we create a safer cyberspace. To do so, it is essential that businesses and individuals alike stay informed on cyber threats and adopt healthy cyber security habits. Given the constantly changing security landscape, it’s important to take a moment and determine where the security industry and individuals need to focus their attention as we move into the next year.

As we approach 2017, the security experts at Symantec have taken a close look at the trends we can expect to see this year and in the years ahead. Here are some security predictions for 2017:

A new era of cybercrime

·         Rogue nation states will finance themselves by stealing money
There is a dangerous possibility that rogue nation states could align with organized crime for their personal gain, such as what we saw in the SWIFT attacks. This could result in down time for countries’ political, military or financial systems.

·         Fileless malware will increase
Fileless infections – those written directly onto a computer’s RAM without using files of any kind – are difficult to detect and often elude intrusion prevention and antivirus programs. This type of attack increased throughout 2016 and will continue to gain prominence in 2017, most likely through PowerShell attacks.

·         Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) abuse will lead to increased phishing sites using HTTPS
The rise in popularity of free SSL certifications paired with Google’s recent initiative to label HTTP-only sites as unsafe will weaken security standards, driving potential spear-phishing or malware programs due to malicious search engine optimization practices.

Furthermore, phishing scams have become so sophisticated that consumers are having a hard time identifying them. In Singapore, 26 percent of consumers cannot identify a phishing scam from a real banking communication when it hits their inbox, according to the Norton Cyber Security Insights 2016 Report.

·         Drones will be used for espionage and explosive attacks
This could be seen in 2017, but is more likely to occur further down the road. By 2025, we can expect to see “dronejacking,” which will intercept drone signals and redirect drones for the attacker’s benefit. Given this possibility, we can also expect to see anti-drone hacking technology being developed to control these devices’ GPS and other important systems.

IoT devices offer new revenue streams for cybercriminals

·         Connected cars will be taken for ransom
As cars start to have connected capabilities, it opens a new avenue for cyber attacks. In Singapore, the connected car penetration is expected to grow from 2.3 percent in 2016 to 9.6 percent in 2020[1]. It is only a matter of time until we see an automobile hack on a large scale. This could include cars being held for ransom, self-driving cars being hacked to obtain their location for hijacking, unauthorized surveillance and intelligence gathering, or other automobile-focused threats. This will also lead to a question of liability between the software vendor and automobile manufacturer, which will have long-term implications on the future of connected cars.

·         Increased IoT DDoS attacks
The Dyn attack in October demonstrated the vast number of IoT devices that don’t have security on them and are tremendously vulnerable to attacks. According to the Norton Cyber Security Insights 2016 report, Singapore consumers are unknowingly giving hackers a new avenue to launch attacks with 42 percent using the default password issued by their provider when setting up their Wi-Fi and have not changed it since then.

As more IoT devices are installed in the mass market, the risk of security breach will increase. Once insecure devices are in the market, it becomes almost impossible to fix the issue without recalling them or issuing security updates. Given that this lack of security will continue for the foreseeable future, the number of IoT attacks will only increase as well.

Hacks in the cloud
·         Ransomware will attack the cloud
Given the significant shift towards cloud-based storage and services, the cloud is becoming a very lucrative target for attacks. The cloud is not always automatically protected by firewalls or more traditional security measures, so there will be a shift in where enterprises need to defend their data. Cloud attacks could result in multi-million dollar damages and loss of critical data, so the need to defend it will become even more crucial.

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