2017 has been a busy year for cybersecurity. Between massive data breaches including Verizon, Equifax, Sonic, Uber, and the infamous “Paradise Papers”; ransomware variants like Wannacry, NotPetya, Locky, GoldenEye, and Jigsaw; and data leaks from major players including the US Air Force’s security clearances, several of the CIA’s confidential documents, and the records of Californian voters, it seems all anyone talks about about is compromised data and security regulations.
From healthcare to legal to finance, no industry has come through the year unscathed by cyberattacks and threats. So, what’s next for cybersecurity? Cybersecurity experts from eSentire discuss what to expect in 2018:
More targeted, vindictive attacks
According to Mark Sangster, VP and industry security strategist at eSentire, cybercriminals will likely begin to “move from opportunistic and transactional attacks (for example, generic emails with cryptolocker) to more targeted (industry or firm focused) attacks.” This could lead to cybercriminals:
- Looking for higher value assets (client data) to lock, destroy or expose
- Demanding even higher ransoms to release, preserve or not expose compromising information
- Contracting attacks against organizations where the criminal gets payment from a third-party seeking to harm the target
eSentire’s Director of Threat Intelligence Viktors Engelbrehts, added, “Politically motivated and cyber espionage cyber-attacks against the critical infrastructure industry will continue to increase. There is also the potential for loss of human life as a result of targeted cyber-attacks, especially in the healthcare sector.”
More large-scale cybercrime
Opportunistic cybercrime will continue to rely on specific malware types, likely investing in capabilities to cause a rapid and global expansion of the infected surface.
According to Engelbrehts, “Such capabilities can also be used for politically-motivated attacks.”
However, “This assessment may change depending on Law Enforcement (LE) agencies’ abilities to deter cybercrime, prosecute individual criminals, and proactively disrupt malware infrastructure in a coordinated fashion,” he added.
At an individual level, further exposure of personal information coupled with a general lack of user awareness and ongoing data collection initiatives run by private organizations will worsen a user’s overall exposure to attack.
“Such [personal] information will remain highly valuable to cybercriminals and will likely continue to be used to facilitate fraudulent activities on a global scale,” said Engelbrehts.
More attention on IoT and cloud security
“IOT will turn to the darkside. We will see many more and expanded attacks coming from IOT devices, both from DDoS attacks and entry points into enterprise networks,” said Joe Rogalski, Director of Solutions Engineering at eSentire.
This will be further demonstrated by an overall false sense of security in the cloud.
“Small and medium enterprises will continue the move to cloud more than ever but will falsely trust that their data is protected by the provider, failing to realize that the end-users and endpoint machines will be targeted to compromise the cloud resources as legitimate users,” he added.
Eldon Sprickerhoff, Chief Security Strategist and Founder at eSentire, also predicted, “The SSO solutions released by major cloud vendors (Amazon, Google, Microsoft) will eviscerate the market for stand-alone solutions.”
More cryptocurrency attacks
Principal Security Strategist at eSentire, Bill Weber, stated, “Business will continue to experience financial losses as they move to adopt cryptocurrency technology without appropriate security controls, creating new markets for trusted providers of crypto-economic business transactions.”
“Successful cryptocurrency attacks will splash headlines—” added Sprickhoff, “—from purely fraudulent ICO’s and DoS attacks against crypto-exchanges to accretive vulnerabilities within the codebase itself and focused attacks against software wallets.”
More regulations and stricter compliance
According to Weber, “Government regulatory agencies and business partners will continue moving toward adopting and enforcing financial and criminal liabilities for cybersecurity negligence.”
The fact is, with the influx of data breaches over the past two years, businesses will have to take the necessary steps to meet the increasing number of cybersecurity requirements set forth by regulatory bodies.
Sangster predicts regulators will begin to treat ransomware payments like a breach, requiring declarations and reporting, which will in turn discourage firms from paying. It’s also likely regulators will move to prevent cryptocurrency payments for ransomware.
“In the short-term companies will suffer, but eventually the industry will be better for it,” said Sangster. “Eventually criminals will learn that an industry can’t pay and will move on to the next.”
Furthermore, in 2018, the EU will begin to fine midmarket firms that violate GDPR regulations, “…making a lesson out of them,” added Sangster.
As a result, “the GDPR will spur corporations worldwide to heighten their privacy measures widely, ahead of what extra-legislative bodies may propose,” said Sprickerhoff.
When it comes to the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), Steven Legg, Principle Security Strategist at eSentire, predicts that “there will only continue to be an increased focus on identifying and addressing cybersecurity requirements in a foundational, outcome-focused fashion.”
Currently, much of the proposed NIST CSF draft update focuses on how to customize the framework for maximum benefit while retaining work performed on older versions of the CSF.
“This will influence guidance, requirements, and coaching provided by 3rd party experts as well as regulators looking to provide more specific direction and guidance on meeting provided mandates,” added Legg.
Prepare for 2018
After the cyber-disasters of 2017, it’s more important than ever businesses finalize their cybersecurity plans for 2018. Cybercriminals won’t wait for you to get organized – they’ll attack whether you’re ready or not.