Different Cyber Threats to Look Out For in 2018

Cyber Threats

In our series on the trends to look out for in 2018, we discuss today the different cyber threats that we need to be concerned about in the new year…

Ransomware
Ransomware attacks happened in an unprecedented scale in 2017; the WannaCry attack, the NotPetya incident and other such ransomware strikes impacted and crippled major organizations and companies worldwide, including the NHS (National Health Service) in the UK, FedEx etc. Rather than targeting one particular organization, the hackers ensured that the ransomware spread globally and hit hundreds of thousands of computers and networks at one go. Since ransomware is a relatively easy kind of malware and since it helps earn quick money, cyber criminals have developed a liking to it and experts agree that in 2018 too there could be many ransomware attacks, some of which could be really massive. It’s also expected that ransomware criminals could target cloud computing businesses in 2018; such attacks could result in unprecedentedly massive kinds of data breaches as companies store tonnes of data in the cloud. It’s reported that prominent cloud operators have already hired the best of digital security experts to ensure that their data remain secure. Yet, there are many companies that are vulnerable and hence ransomware strikes targeting cloud computing businesses.

Massive Data Breaches
Hackers now go for big data breaches that could help them get personal data of enormously large numbers of people. A notable example is the Equifax hack that happened last year, which helped cyber criminals get away with sensitive personal data of almost half of the population of the U.S. Hackers definitely now think big and it’s a matter of no doubt that they would plan massive data breaches in 2018 as well. They would target companies that hold loads of sensitive information of clients and customers; there are in fact many such companies that are vulnerable and it’s such companies that hackers would target the most.

Cryptocurrency Mining
This is an emerging trend- hackers targetting holders of cryptocurrency, like Bitcoin for instance. Hackers, allegedly from North Korea, have been specializing in cryptocurrency mining. They tend to compromise computers and networks to use them for cryptocurrency mining. Since cryptocurrency mining is growing, it’s speculated that hackers would breach and take control of millions of computers and networks to carry out their mining operations. This is one of the notable cyber threats that we need to be concerned about, in 2018.

Cyber Attacks Targeting Critical Infrastructure
Cyber security experts say that there could be many attacks targeting the critical infrastructure of countries and organizations. Hackers would thus continue to target transportation systems, electrical grids, telecommunication networks, defense networks etc and cripple them, thereby causing big issues. An entire nation could plunge into darkness, the whole telecommunication system of a country or a province could be thrown out of gear and the very critical defense operations could be affected adversely if hackers execute such attacks.

Using AI Technology for Cyber Attacks
Using the AI (Artificial Intelligence) technology for cyber attacks, as per experts, is something that we’d have to reckon with, not just in 2018, but in the times to come. If security experts are using AI technologies to anticipate and block attacks, it’s quite evident that cyber criminals too would use the same technology to carry out attacks. A very notable example is using AI to carry out spear phishing. AI technology helps hackers craft phishing messages and emails untiringly and in large numbers; the numbers would be very high when compared to what humans can craft. Such messages can be used to carry out phishing campaigns in a much more widespread and effective manner. Similarly, AI technology can be used by cyber criminals in designing malware that could very effectively bypass security programs or sandboxes to infect systems/networks.

Julia Sowells375 Posts

Julia Sowells has been a technology and security professional. For a decade of experience in technology, she has worked on dozens of large-scale enterprise security projects, and even writing technical articles and has worked as a technical editor for Rural Press Magazine. She now lives and works in New York, where she maintains her own consulting firm with her role as security consultant while continuing to write for Hacker Combat in her limited spare time.

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