​Govt and private sector targeted as cybercrime equation becomes more complex

“Government and the private sector will begin to see the benefit of cybersecurity foresight."

Continued growth in online extortion, hacktivism and mobile malware is expected in the next twelve, as well as a shift to an offensive cybersecurity posture for government entities and corporations.

Trend Micro’s annual security predictions for 2016 forecast a tough year for government and the private sector, as cybercrime expands across industries and verticals.

“We anticipate 2016 to be a very significant year for both sides of the cybercrime equation,” says Dhanya Thakkar, managing director, Trend Micro Asia Pacific.

“Government and the private sector will begin to see the benefit of cybersecurity foresight, with changes in legislation and the increasing addition of cybersecurity officers within enterprises.

“In addition, as users become more aware of online threats, attackers will react by developing sophisticated, personalised schemes to target individuals and corporations alike.”

According to the report, 2016 will also mark a significant turning point for malvertising.

As explained by Thakkar, there has been a 41 percent increase in consumers globally using online ad blocking software this year.

“Advertisers will seek to alter their approach to online ads and cybercriminals will attempt to find other ways to obtain user information,” Thakkar adds.

Going forward, Thakkar believes online extortion will be accelerated through the use of psychological analysis and social engineering of prospective victims.

Consequently, hacktivists will be driven to expose even more incriminating information, impacting targets, and facilitating secondary infections.

“Hackers consistently evolve to adapt to their surroundings, just as online ads are declining, we see ransomware is increasing,” Thakkar adds.

“Despite the growth in security investments and legislation, these changes will inevitably bring new, more sophisticated attack vectors.”

Australia and New Zealand

Locally speaking, Thakkar believes the growing popularity of smart devices in Australia and New Zealand is accompanied by challenges such as a diversity of operating systems and lack of regulation for these devices.

For Thakkar, these challenges are likely to lead to device failure in some instances and at least one incident causing fatality, in turn triggering a conversation on creating regulations on device production and usage.

“We’ve already seen hacking in devices ranging from baby monitors to smart TVs and connected cars, and as consumers in Australia and New Zealand rapidly embrace smart devices, we need to be aware of the potential dangers,” adds Tim Falinski, consumer director, Trend Micro Australia and New Zealand.

“As more drones operate in public air space, more devices are used for healthcare services, and more appliances are internet-enabled, the more likely we are to see device malfunction, hacking and misuse.”

Looking ahead, Falinski believes cybercriminals will devise new ways to personalise attacks, making 2016 the year of online extortion with mobile malware set grow to 20 million, primarily effecting China, while targeting new mobile payment options globally.

As more consumer-grade smart devices are used in day-to-day activities, Falinski claims that “at least one device failure will be lethal in 2016” while hacktivists will escalate attack methods to systematically destroy targets with high-profile data breaches.

Perhaps crucially however, findings predict that less than 50 percent of organisations are expected to have cybersecurity experts on staff by the end of 2016.

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