2016 Cyber Threat Watch

It’s hard to believe the year is coming to an end, with Christmas only days away, 2015 is on it’s way out and 2016 will be here before you know it. With the new year, comes a new batch of cyber threats to watch out for. Each year before, a list of the top 5 cyber threats that we faced was released, with 2014 bringing us back to the dreaded experience with Target and the stole PIN codes. The ever popular Snapchat leaked it’s users information, and the list continued with Mobile malware, Virtual currencies, Social attacks, and Cloud-based attacks.

Moving forward to this past year, 2015, we were faced with the threats of copy cats of Edward Snowden, and the nation-state effect his attack had and how it made the system even more vulnerable by attack from others. Extortion topped the list of threats as well as data destruction, bank card breaches, third party breaches, and critical infrastructure.

So with all of these threats in the “past” what could we possibly expect in 2016? The experts at CNBC have offered the following insight:

“The new era of cyberterrorism: Cyberattacks are on the rise, and government agencies, law enforcement and the private sector all seem powerless to stop them. The list of recent high-profile victims includes such well-known names as Target, Sony and Ashley Madison, and it also includes the Joint Chiefs of Staff and even the White House. Many of the cybercrime attacks are coming from countries that include China, Iran and North Korea. The U.S. government has budgeted $14 billion for cybersecurity for fiscal year 2016, so clearly, this threat is being taken seriously at the highest levels of government.
Unfortunately, security experts expect cyberattacks seen in 2015 to continue in the new year, if only because those most likely to be victimized simply haven't done much to step up security. In fact, many federal agencies have not even instituted two-factor authentication, something as simple as requiring both a card and a PIN number.”

  1. Cloud computing
    Cloud computing allows vast amounts of data to be stored without taking up one inch of physical space. Increasingly, U.S. businesses rely on it to warehouse their sensitive information.
    According to the technology investment banking firm Centaur Partners, centrally hosted software and cloud-based business application services revenue is expected to grow to $33 billion in 2016, as compared to $14 billion in 2011. Rohit Gupta, CEO of the cybersecurity firm Palerra, said that hackers targeting cloud computing could be the biggest threat of 2016.
    "More and more transactions are moving online and to the cloud," he said. "Many U.S. businesses are even running their business-critical applications and services in the cloud. Why would hackers go through the trouble of overcoming physical security when it's so much more lucrative to target cloud services and transactions?”
    Infrastructure
    Many security experts worry about the possibility of U.S. infrastructure becoming the next major target of cybercriminals. Bobby Kuzma, systems engineer for Core Security, told CNBC that this type of attack could be one to watch out for in the months ahead.
    "The biggest threats aren't going to be information breaches," he said. "It's going to be attacks against critical infrastructure, like utilities, telecommunications and logistics. Industrial control systems have been overlooked for too long, and with the success of weaponized code like Stuxnet, it's only a matter of time before we're hit with similar attacks.”
  2. Mobile devices
    According to the mobile security firm NowSecure, 43 percent of "bring your own device" (BYOD) smartphones used by U.S. workers don't have a password, a personal identification number or pattern lock. Fifty percent use these devices to connect to unsecured Wi-Fi at least once a month, and nearly half of mobile apps on any given mobile device have at least one major security flaw.
    "Securing data in the cloud can be problematic, before the added complexity of managing the data on a mobile device," said Mike Meikle of the security consulting and education company SecureHIM. "However, mobile platforms are becoming the access point of choice for the enterprise, and so this issue needs to be addressed swiftly.”
  3. EMV Chip cards
    On October 1, U.S. credit card issuers will begin issuing EMV (Europay, MasterCard and Visa) compliant cards, which will store data on an integrated circuit, not a magnetic strip. While this change is intended to reduce certain types of fraud, it will also give cybercriminals a new avenue of attack—card-not-present (CNP) technology. "We've actually seen this happen globally with other countries which made the EMV chip card switch," said Tami Cohorst, chief operating officer of credit card processor Abtek. "For instance, fraud related to CNP transactions in the U.K. spiked to 79 percent within the first three years of the company migrating to EMV chip cards. Since Canada made a similar shift, fraud has doubled."

With threats like these present, in addition to everyday threats of hackers, data breaches, natural causes, and so much more, it makes having an IT company you can count on in your pocket protecting your information and available 24/7 to assist with issues, something companies are realizing they need more than ever.  If you think you too could beneift from these type of services, call or email our office today!

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