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2016: Year of Cyber Threat

Published : Jan 21, 2016, 11:00 am IST
Updated : Jan 21, 2016, 11:00 am IST

There were many major cyber-security breaches in 2015. Through data breach, the identities of millions of people were exposed. Targeted attacks and internet crime list amongst the others.

Representational image
 Representational image

There were many major cyber-security breaches in 2015. Through data breach, the identities of millions of people were exposed. Targeted attacks and internet crime list amongst the others. Cyber threat will grow in 2016 posing higher challenges for most organizations and individuals, industry experts and security firm reports reveal.

Reports suggest an alarming increase in ransomware attacks. Typically, in a ransomware attack, attackers prevent or limit victims from accessing their own system /or data, forcing them to pay the ransom to grant access to their systems or to get their data restored. In many cases the attackers also encrypts files on user’s system, thus denying access to files. Ransomware targeting personal information According to McAfee Labs threat report, number of new ransomware samples rose 58 per cent in the second quarter of 2015.

The total number of ransomware samples grew 127 percent from second quarter of 2014 to the same time period in 2015.

“While most ransomware attacks are on organisations, many attacks have also been witnessed on individuals recently,” says Michael Sentonas, VP and Worldwide CTO for McAfee, part of Intel Security.

Using targeted attacks, such as, emails that look like they originate from trusted source, attackers are getting their malicious encryption tools into vulnerable systems.

Encrypting data is just one step of it, Sentonas said. With personal information, such as pictures, ransomware attackers are now threatening individuals to go public with their private digital content.

Apple devices Apple devices are known for being a hard nut to crack. Users might need to watch out for security attacks this year. A security report by Symantec points out that the level of Apple-related malware infections has spiked, particularly in the past 18 months. Security researchers have also given a greater focus on vulnerabilities in Apple software, with a number of high-profile flaws uncovered in the past year. Apple device user’s perception that Apple devices are “free from malware” opens up opportunities for cybercriminals to take advantage of these users, the report says.

Demand for Cyber Insurance In 2016, many companies will turn to cyber insurance as another layer of protection, particularly as cyber-attacks start mirroring physical world attacks, says the Symantec report. Cyber insurance offers organizations protection to limit their risk. However, insurance companies will mature their offerings with qualifications, exceptions and exemptions, allowing them to refuse payment for breaches caused by ineffective security practices, points out the security report by Raytheon. Mobile threats As personal computers and servers get better protected, criminals are turning towards other vulnerable devices. The total number of mobile malware samples, according to the McAfee report, grew 17 per cent in Q2 of 2015.

As India moves towards a mobile-only economy, hacks targeting mobile devices and new payment methodologies will impact payment security more than EMV, says a security prediction report by Forcepoint Security Labs. The increase in non-traditional payment methods on mobile devices or via beacons and smart carts will open up the doors for a new wave of retail data breaches. Internet of things A security report for 2016 by FortiGuard says that the internet of things will become central to “land and expand” attacks in which hackers will take advantage of vulnerabilities in connected consumer devices to get a foothold within the corporate networks and hardware to which they connect. Under the evolving umbrella of mobile health, new care delivery models will move devices into the patient’s home connecting through public networks and interlacing personal data with clinical information, thus increasing the vulnerability of these devices. The need for improved security on IoT devices, according to the Symantec report, will become more pressing in 2016.

Location: India, Karnataka, Bengaluru