By Don Reisinger | Posted 2016-12-07
Trend Micro Predicts More Sophisticated Cyber-Attacks in 2017
Security software company Trend Micro says cyber-attacks on enterprise networks and the internet of things will only grow in volume and sophistication in 2017.
Ransomware Will Start to Level Off
The number of ransomware families is expected to “plateau” at some point during 2017, according to Trend Micro. However, compared to 2016, the number targeting individuals and companies will grow by 25 percent. That translates to an average of 15 new ransomware families discovered each month and should result in cybercriminals hitting more and bigger targets.
The Internet of Things Becomes a Hacker Haven
Connected devices will be important tools for hackers in 2017. Trend Micro predicts hackers will use IoT devices as “sleeper agents” that they’ll pool together for much larger attacks against important infrastructure, launching “massive DDoS attacks” via the devices. They’ll also try to take down wide swaths of the internet and “pummel” major organizations.
Email Scams Will Be On the Rise
Email-based scams will soar in 2017, since they’re simple to launch and can deliver high returns on a small investment, Trend Micro claims. Hackers, therefore, are expected to boost the number of email attacks on companies and individuals dramatically, and their efforts could net them billions of dollars. A single business email compromise can net hackers $140,000, according to Trend Micro.
Watch Out for Business Process
Sophisticated hackers will be looking at ways to take advantage of the way financial institutions process business transactions in 2017. Trend Micro believes hackers will first target a financial institution’s email or network and modify processes to redirect cash and payments to their own accounts. The average business process attack on a financial institution could net the hackers upwards of $81 million, according to Trend Micro.
Adobe, Microsoft, Apple Under Attack
Adobe has long suffered from security flaws in its software, and Trend Micro believes that will continue into 2017. However, the company also says security researchers also will discover dozens of flaws in Apple and Microsoft products next year that could put company data at risk. Still worse, Trend Micro predicts that security improvements made by Microsoft, Adobe and Apple next year could make it even more difficult for researchers to detect attacks.
Cyber-Propaganda Is a Rising National Security Threat
Trend Micro believes the recent trend of fake news impacting opinions around the world won’t let up in 2017. As more people around the world come online, the company notes, they’ll be sharing fake news to peddle influence. The move also might net them some cash.
Security Administrative Costs Will Soar
Any company that captures and stores the personal data of people living in the European Union will incur additional costs next year. Under new regulations outlined by the EU, companies will need to keep stored data safe and secure. By 2018, when the regulations go into effect and stringent privacy is expected, companies could pay up to 4 percent of their global revenue for failing to comply. Next year, therefore, could be a costly year as companies around the world ramp up their user database security.
New Threats to Worry About
While companies have faced all of the aforementioned threats in 2016, Trend Micro warns more threats are coming. Attackers will deliver new payloads and might circumvent the protections companies already have in place across their network infrastructure, as hackers, Trend Micro says, have become “more seasoned.” Corporate network infrastructure, however, has “remained largely the same.” That could be a recipe for trouble.
Applying Machine Learning for Protection
Although machine learning to combat security threats is nothing new, it could prove to be a critical component in fighting next year’s threats. When companies properly deploy machine learning through a layered system that has both human- and computer-provided inputs flowing through mathematical algorithms, the company says, their chances of fending off threats are higher. Effective machine learning, in other words, could mean the difference between a secure system and dealing with a hack.
How to Catch Zero-Day Threats
When it comes to zero-day threats, there’s little companies can do to protect themselves. However, to maximize their ability to sidestep threats, companies must continually monitor network behavior and integrity, according to Trend Micro. In addition, the company notes, sandboxing could prove effective in stopping threats from spreading across a network.
Companies around the world are under constant cyber-attack. Cyber-criminals in 2016 were able to target companies on several fronts, hitting them with distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks that knocked their web applications offline and cut them off from their customers for hours at a time. They used phishing attacks to dupe employees into disclosing network login information so they could break in and steal data and trade secrets. Unfortunately, security software company Trend Micro says things won’t change very much in 2017. Rather, Trend Micro’s cyber-threat predictions for the New Year suggest hackers will increase their attacks on mobile platforms and the internet of things (IoT). They also will continue their practice of scamming employees with worthless spam emails and phishing messages. In addition, Trend Micro believes an emerging threat known as cyber-propaganda could be used to foment unrest and destabilize national governments. All the while, hackers are expected to rake in billions of dollars from their activities. This slide show will cover Trend Micro’s predictions on the security threats companies will face in 2017 and suggest what people and enterprises can do to protect themselves from increasingly sophisticated attacks.
Don Reisinger is a freelance technology columnist. He started writing about technology for Ziff-Davis’ Gearlog.com. Since then, he has written extremely popular columns for CNET.com, Computerworld, InformationWeek, and others. He has appeared numerous times on national television to share his expertise with viewers. You can follow his every move at http://twitter.com/donreisinger.