Dan Lohrmann from Government Technology
Dan Lohrmann from Government Technology. Image: Crain's Detroit Business.

2016 was a record year for cybersecurity issues, and it seems 2017 will be worse. Experts and firms coincide on their reports that enterprise software, IoT, ransomware, fake news, and AI vulnerabilities will get worse this year.

The ongoing year has already started with some big blows to user safety. Online, a hacker released part of the Cellebrite code used by governments to access data on iOS and Android devices.

In the courtroom, the FBI won over Google and forced the search giant’s hand to turn over emails stored overseas. The company, however, may not be able to comply after all due to its security measures that fragment information.

The Government Technology blog has compiled a list of 17 security prediction lists by firms like Kaspersky Lab, McAfee, Forcepoint, IBM, Palo Alto Networks, and others. Below, the five most important threats of the compilation.

The enterprise cloud will be a hot new target

The cloud keeps growing as the default platform for both standard users and large companies to store and manage data. Unfortunately, a wider adoption also means a more attractive target.

With the expansion of platforms such as Microsoft’s Office 365 and the quick evolution of others like Slack, hackers have a bigger playground in which to wreak havoc.

The integrative qualities that make them so useful to corporate clients will be the same ones that cyber criminals will exploit.

Businesses will not be the only ones subject to this threat, as FireEye points ou.  Religious institutions may also be on the radar of hackers for their large collections of personal data and relatively weak cyber security.

IoT botnet attacks will only get bigger

Unless the industry does something about it, the Internet of Things will only become an easier, bigger platform for hackers to use in massive DDoS attacks.

Connected devices lack the security features that could prevent them from becoming slaves to malware such as Mirai. The string of code became a popular weapon after it was publicly released online a couple of months ago.

Manufacturers are the only ones who can stop the threat from spreading even more by adopting stronger security protocols and releasing products with tighter walls that are not as easily accessible.

Ransomware will go mainstream

Ransomware is a type of malware that prevents user access unless they pay a specific amount of money to someone, typically within a timeframe. The use of ransomware is a common enough practice, but it may go mainstream in 2017.

Due to the proliferation of both IoT devices and the expansion of enterprise platforms, there are more entry routes and more destinations for hackers to use this pay-to-play malware.

Symantec notes that ransomware could even hit the cloud, potentially leaving millions of users locked out of huge platforms like Google’s online office products and Apple’s iCloud.

AI will become both a blessing and a curse

There is no doubt that artificial intelligence and machine learning technology are one of the biggest breakthroughs in the industry as of late. However, as expected, the implications of such computational power come with its ups and downs.

AI will become a more widespread tool for companies managing and analyzing big data, although the demands of maintaining such a network will increase operational costs.

Similarly, the adoption of this technology will open new gates for yet undetermined kinds of threats that harness this power. Predictions suggest this will be limited to data and information for now.

Hackers will use fake news and ads to launch undercover attacks

The rise of the fake news phenomenon will provide a new platform for hackers to launch coordinated attacks under the guise of a non-existing threat.

Dan Lohrmann, the author of the Government Technology article and a consultant for IBM, warns about the risks and underlying motives that cyber criminals may have in 2017.

“HUGE DDOS ATTACKS COINCIDING WITH FAKE NEWS TWEETS ABOUT A MAJOR DATA BREACH […] WILL CAUSE A SIGNIFICANT, BUT TEMPORARY DROP IN SELECT STOCKS,” the strategist says.

This way, hackers will not only have a cover for their attacks, but they will also seek to profit from them using the power of social media. Lohrmann thinks the endgame this year is manipulating the stock market to their benefit.

Source: Government Technology

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