2017 was a watershed year in cyber security in the Asia-Pacific (APAC) region. Major organisations – from Singapore’s leading universities and Ministry of Defence to Australia’s national broadcaster and Malaysia’s telecoms operators – had fallen prey to cyber attacks, with personal data stolen in some cases.
While the affected organisations shore up their defences and recover from the attacks, those that were relatively unscathed should not rest on their laurels.
After all, in cyber space, where threat actors know no boundaries, any organisation is susceptible to attacks by resourceful hackers who are becoming more ambitious by the day. We take a look at the top cyber security trends that are likely to dominate the threat landscape in 2018.
- DDoS on the rise
It is now possible for anyone to ‘rent’ a DDoS attack on the internet. For as little as US$ 5, you can actually pay someone to do the attack for you! https://securelist.com/the-cost-of-launching-a-ddos-attack/77784/. This is just one of the reasons DDoS threats will continue to escalate in 2018, alongside the cost of dealing with them. The dangers of DDoS for smaller companies are that it will leave them unable to do business. For larger organisations, DDoS attacks can overwhelm systems. Remember that DDoS is significantly under-reported, as no-one wants to admit they have been under attack
- Time to ditch those simple passwords
In 2018, simple passwords will be even more highlighted as an insecure ‘secure’ method of access. Once a password is compromised, then all other sites with that same user password are also vulnerable. As staff often use the same passwords for business as they use personally, businesses are left vulnerable. While complex passwords do have a superficial attraction, there are many challenges around that approach and multi-factor authentication is a vastly superior method of access.
- Ransomware will be the most dangerous threat to businesses and organizations worldwide
Once again ransomware will represent the most dangerous threat to organizations and end-users. The number of new Ransomware families will continue to increase; authors will be more focused on mobile devices implementing new evasion techniques making these threats even more efficient and difficult to eradicate.
Security researchers expect new ransom-as-a-service platforms will be available on the dark web making very easy to wannabe crooks to arrange their ransomware campaigns.
- Cybercriminals focus on cryptocurrencies
The rapid and sustained increase in the value of some cryptocurrencies will push crooks in intensifying the fraudulent activities against virtual currency scheme.Cyber criminals will continue to use malware to steal funds from victims’ computers or to deploy hidden mining tools on machines.
A growing number of websites will be compromised to host miner scripts used to monetize the computational capability of the visitors.In 2018, more people will mine cryptocurrencies on their computers; we will undoubtedly see more attacks designed to steal crypto coins from users.Security researchers worldwide will observe an intensification of mass Internet scanning campaigns for wallet accidentally exposed online.
- IoT – a security time-bomb
IoT is a rapidly growing phenomenon which will accelerate in 2018, as both consumers and businesses opt for the convenience and benefits that IoT brings. However, manufacturers are not yet routinely building security into IoT devices and 2018 will see further problems generated through the use of insecure IoT. IoT is a major threat and possibly the biggest threat to businesses in the coming years. Unfortunately, it is not easy, and in some cases impossible, to bolt on security as an afterthought with IoT, and many organisations will find it challenging to deal with the consequences of such breaches. As IoT cascades through organisations’ infrastructures, it is likely to become the ultimate Trojan horse.
- Mobile malware on the rise
With the rising mobile penetration rates and weak cyber regulations in developing markets in the region, smartphones are becoming more attractive to hackers as opposed to PCs.Malwarebytes said countries such as the Philippines, Malaysia and Indonesia are already seeing widespread usage of mobile banking and social media through smartphones.The problem is exacerbated by the lack of regulation over third-party app stores selling malicious apps, as well as the use of counterfeit software that may come with malware.
“Outdated prevention security, use of pirated software, lack of remediation or response and poor cyber hygiene will continue to contribute to increasing levels of mobile malware in the region,” Malwarebytes said.
- Artificial Intelligence as a double-edged sword
The way the good guys and bad guys use AI will shift. Cybersecurity is an arms race and the weaker party will resort to asymmetric means to achieve its goals. Just as organizations are adopting machine learning and AI to improve their cybersecurity posture, so are the threat actors. Attackers are using machine learning to speed up the process of finding vulnerabilities in commercial products, with the end result being that attackers will use ever more new exploits without signaling that AI was involved in their creation. AI will also increase the number of qualified cybersecurity professionals as it lowers the barriers of entry into the profession and allows less trained individuals to still be effective on the front lines of the cybersecurity battle. In addition, AI will allow existing cybersecurity professionals to move up-market by leveraging AI to find more complex attack scenarios before they do significant damage— Oliver Tavakoli, CTO, Vectra
- GDPR – have most businesses missed the point?
The arrival of GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) in May 2018 will, of course, be a big story. However, many organisations are missing the main point about GDPR. It is about identifying, protecting and managing PII – any information that could potentially identify a specific individual. This will become more important in 2018 and there will be considerable focus on identifying, securing and, where required, deleting PII held on networks.
- Cloud security, a top priority for enterprises
A growing number of companies will rely on cloud storage attracting the interest of cyber criminals and state-sponsored hackers.Because of this, cloud infrastructures are a potential target of security breaches.
In response, enterprises should adopt security guidelines and strategies to mitigate the risk of exposure to cyber threats.Unfortunately, the number of enterprises that will develop data security and governance programs as a measure to prevent data breaches and data leak will be limited.