Perhaps, there has never been a need for greater online security at any other time in recent history than there is now. 2014 recorded cases of bugs and data breaches, fraud, hacking, name it. Organizations and businesses like Sony, iCloud and others were the unfortunate victims. And experts say such attacks are not about to end anytime soon. In fact, experts predict many more online security risks in 2015, mostly due to the increased sophistication of cybercrime.
Here is the list of top cyber security risks for 2015.
1- The Internet of Things
Internet of things has been dubbed the “Internet of Vulnerabilities” by cyber experts. According to the founder of Cyber Senate, Jamison Nesbitt, IoT is “the main cyber security risk for 2015”. Internet of Things, which is the connection of internet capable devices such as TVs and home security services, was made to simplify every possible area of our lives.
Unfortunately, these interconnected systems were not given the best security designs and will continue to be a path of least resistance to Black Hat hackers, even as IoT is expected to be integrated into every possible market.
Aside from server side vulnerabilities, hackers will look out for other vulnerabilities like security systems, webcams and consumer home automation. Enterprise side vulnerabilities will include supply chain systems and human machine interfaces (HMI). This will pose challenges in patch management and third-party components.
2014 witnessed the Sony hack which was attributed to North Korea. Many governments have taken to cyber espionage to undermine the global influence of world powers. Experts foresee the next world war being fought on a keyboard and warn that such attacks will proliferate in 2015.
Chris Peterson, a co-founder of LogRhythm, a survey intelligence company, expects an increase in the use of Spywares by governments to track the activities of certain individuals. An antispyware tool has been released by Amnesty International recently to detect devices laden with surveillance software.
3- Insecure Passwords
The attack made on iCloud indicated just how damaging password vulnerabilities could be, and weaknesses of passwords will continue to pose online security risk in 2015. Password recovery mechanisms usually require some information to be supplied by the owner; and such answers can easily be stolen from basic personal data usually exposed online, particularly on social media.
It is projected that 2015 may see the first multi-factor options replacing the use of passwords.
Ransomware lock up documents on any computer that they infect by encrypting data and asking for payment in exchange for restoring user’s access to the encrypted files. Earlier in the year, Federal officials clamped down on Crypto locker, the most malicious example of ransomware, by arresting several cyber criminals involved in the attack.
However, experts predict that ransomware attacks will likely spread in scope. In fact, it is feared that data stored on the cloud as the backup may soon come under ransomware attacks, making it even more frustrating to restore encrypted data. So you may want to be wary of opening suspicious links and email attachments.
5- DDoS Attacks
The Denial-of-Service (DDoS) attacks do not cause any obvious damage to your device, or try to intercept information. But they bring overwhelming traffic to your site, so much that it prevents genuine users from gaining access to it.
Reported cases of DDoS attacks have highlighted the size of the attacks, however, the trend of the attacks shows an increase in sophistication of techniques. Attackers can now get around the barriers on their target network.
6- Social Media attacks
Among the top cyber security risks for 2015 will be attacks on social media. These attacks usually target websites used by a group, with the aim of infecting one or more of the users, then spread the malware to the rest.
New techniques are expected to be increasingly used in 2015 to launch these attacks. Experts predict a 400 percent rise in inappropriate and malicious content on social media, with attackers targeting users’ accounts to spread malwares and steal customer information.
7- Data Breaches and Denial of Revenue
Significant thefts were recorded in 2014 from stores like Michaels and Home Depot, so much that the year was dubbed the “year of the data breach”. The trend is expected to continue in 2015 with increasing cleverness. Financial systems and details may continue to suffer data breaches by hackers who will try to apply new techniques to infiltrate more systems.
Attacks may also be experienced in ERP/SAP systems, assembly line, building management and even healthcare systems, leading to the denial of service to consumers, and loss of revenue and reputation for organizations.
8- Cyber theft
The theft of credit and debit card data on the black market is probably not going to be new to us in 2015. Over the years, there have been large-scale breaches and thefts of card data; cybertheft will undoubtedly rank among the top cyber security risks for 2015.
The coming of new payment methods like contactless and mobile payments will open up a new angle of attack for hackers, especially if retailers do not store payment card data securely. Professionals are hoping to see the issuance of EMV cards, which will come with a microchip for further security.
9- Targeting the ‘one percent’
Cybercriminals traditionally target companies and government entities with good financial prospects and do not particularly go after individuals with the promise of little or no payoffs. This, however, does not apply to wealthy individuals – the one percent.
This group may face online security dangers and attacks from cybercriminals who may think there is some monetary gain worth the trouble. So we may start seeing more individualized attacks in 2015.
Hackers may develop a way to erase information on hard drives to cover their tracks. The first sign of blast wave was noticed in 2014, where hackers built code routines that, when altered, will self-destruct and erase hard drive information.
Blastwares could be used to thwart forensics and slow down law enforcement in the battle against cybercrime. Hackers may also use it to extort money from victims by asking for payment; else, they wipe hard drives clean.
Cyber-attacks are expected to increase in 2015. Paying attention to security details while surfing the web, getting malware security and observing other measures of caution will ensure you are not a victim.