DOROS HADJIZENONOS, Country Manager of Check Point South Africa, gives his security predictions for the coming year.
A year in cybersecurity can seem like an eternity. But despite the rapid changes, many things remain constant. Check Point’s top three predicted security threats for 2015 were the rapid growth in unknown malware, in mobile threats, and in critical vulnerabilities in commonly used platforms (Android, iOS and others). These were fully realised, and are likely to remain a significant threat. The cat-and-mouse game that has typified cybersecurity in recent years continues, with hackers constantly finding new ways in which to attack networks – as this year’s high-profile breaches at Anthem, Experian, Carphone Warehouse, Ashley Madison and TalkTalk showed.
Like most IT security professionals, I really want my predictions not to come true: I would prefer organisations didn’t get hacked or breached. But by anticipating the next wave of threats, we hope to help businesses stay on top of the evolving tactics and exploits that criminals will use to target them. So here are ten IT security threats and trends that I expect we will see during 2016.
‘Sniper’ and ‘shotgun’ malware
We believe that larger breaches in 2016 will be the result of custom-designed malware designed to get past the defences of specific organisations, such as the attack on US retailer Target. While generic, broad-brush attacks will continue to threaten individual users and small enterprises, hackers will raise their game when attacking larger organisations with more sophisticated security postures. They will use deeper, more sophisticated phishing and other social engineering tricks to gain access to the data that they want.
Moving to mobile
Mobile attacks continue to increase as mobile devices become more commonplace in the workplace, offering hackers direct and potentially lucrative access to personal and corporate data. Our 2015 Security Report found that 42% of organisations had suffered mobile security incidents which cost more than $250,000 to remediate, and 82% expected incidents to rise. This year has also seen several high-profile mobile vulnerabilities emerge, including Certifigate on hundreds of millions of Android devices and XcodeGhost, the first major malware infection targeting non-jailbroken iOS devices. We expect to find more major mobile vulnerabilities in the next year.
In the ongoing battle between hackers and security professionals, attackers are increasingly deploying more sophisticated, custom variants of existing malware and zero-days that can bypass traditional sandboxing technology. These new attack vectors require more proactive and advanced solutions that catch evasive malware. CPU-level sandboxing is able to identify the most dangerous threats in their infancy before they can evade detection and infect networks.
Attacks on critical infrastructure
In December 2014, a steel mill in Germany was hit by hackers who accessed the plant’s production network and caused ‘massive’ damage. Also, the US Department of Homeland Security that ‘Havex’ Trojan infections had compromised industrial control systems in over 1,000 energy companies across Europe and North America. Attacks on public utilities and key industrial processes will continue, using malware to target the SCADA systems that control those processes. And as control systems become increasingly connected, this will extend the potential attack surface – which will require better protection.
IoT and smart devices
The Internet of Things is still emerging and is unlikely to make a big impact in 2016. Nevertheless organisations need to think about how they can protect smart devices and prepare themselves for wider adoption of the IoT. The key questions users need to ask is ‘where is my data going?’ and ‘what would happen if someone gets hold of this data?’ A year ago, we discovered a flaw in SOHO routers worldwide that could allow hackers to hijack the router to launch attacks on any devices connected to it – and we will see more of these vulnerabilities in connected devices.
You wear it well
Wearables like smartwatches are making their way into the enterprise, bringing with them new security risks and challenges. There are a number of security concerns about data that is held on smartwatches, or that wearables could even be used by hackers to capture video and audio via mobile remote access Trojans, so organisations that permit these devices need to ensure that they are protected with encryption and strong passwords.
Trains, planes and automobiles
2015 saw the emergence of car hacking, in which the vehicle’s software is hijacked to take control of it. In July, Fiat Chrysler recalled 1.4 million Jeep Cherokee vehicles in the US after security researchers found that they could be hacked via the connected entertainment system. With modern cars featuring more gadgetry and connected systems than ever before, we need to apply protection to these in-car systems – and the same applies to the complex systems in passenger aeroplanes, trains and other forms of public transport.
Real security for virtual environments
Virtualisation has been adopted rapidly in the enterprise over recent years, whether it’s through SDN, NFV or cloud computing. Virtualised environments are complex and create new network layers, and it’s only now that we are seeing a real understanding of how to secure these environments. As organisations move to virtualised environments, security needs to be designed in from the outset to deliver effective protection.
New environments, new threats
2015 has seen the launch of a number of new operating systems, such as Windows 10 and iOS 9. The bulk of enterprise attacks in recent years have been on Windows 7, since adoption of Windows 8 was relatively low, but with Windows 10 experiencing a high uptake driven by the free download available, cyber-criminals will turn their attention to trying to exploit these new operating systems where updates are more frequent and users are less familiar with the environment.
Security consolidation – keep it simple!
To protect against multifaceted threats, security professionals are likely to increase their reliance on centralised security management solutions. With large enterprises having a plethora of different security products on their network, consolidation offers a way of reducing both complexity and cost. Having many point products and solutions quickly becomes unmanageable and can actually impede, rather than improve security, so consolidating security provides an effective way to cut complexity and make for easier management, so that new threats don’t get lost in the gaps between systems.
Welcome to world of 2099
The world of 2099 will be unrecognisable from the world of today, but it can be predicted, says one visionary. ARTHUR GOLDSTUCK met him in Singapore.
Futuristic structures tower over the landscape. Giant, alien-looking trees light up with dazzling colours amid the hundreds of plant species that grow up their trunks. Cosmetic stores sell their wares via public touch-screens, with products delivered instantly in drawers below the screens.
This is not a vision of the future. It is a sample of Singapore today. But it is also an inkling of the world we may all experience in the future.
Singapore was the venue, last week, of the World Cities Summit, where engineers, politicians, investors and visionaries rubbed shoulders as they talked about the strategies and policies that would enhance urban living in the future.
As part of the Summit, global payment technologies leader Mastercard hosted a small media briefing by one of Singapore’s leading thinkers about the future, Dr Damian Tan, managing director of Vickers Venture Partners. The company’s slogan “We invest in the extraordinary,” offers a small clue to Tan’s perspective.
“We look as far forward as 2099 because, as a venture capital firm, we invest in the long term,” he tells a group of journalists from Africa and the Middle East. “Companies explode in growth because there is value in the future. If there is no growth, they won’t explode.”
The big question that the Smart Cities Summit and Mastercard are trying to help answer is, what will cities look like in the year 2099? Tan can’t give an exact answer, but he offers a framework that helps one approach the question.
“If you want to look at 81 years into the future, and understand the change that will come, you need to double that amount and look into the past. That takes us to 1856. The difference between then and now is the difference you can expect between now and 2099.”
Click here or on the page link below to read on: Page 2: Soldiers and Health in 2099.
- Arthur Goldstuck is founder of World Wide Worx and editor-in-chief of Gadget.co.za. Follow him on Twitter on @art2gee and on YouTube
Street art goes electric
Kaspersky Lab and British street artist D*Face have unveiled the first-ever “art helmet” design at the Formula E finale for electric cars in New York.
The ‘Save The World’ helmets will be raced by DS Virgin Racing’s drivers, Sam Bird and Alex Lynn, as they traverse the New York street circuit during the final races of the Formula E season.
The announcement signals the first art helmet by a Formula E team, continuing the heritage of art in motorsport and the cybersecurity brand’s commitment to contemporary art, creativity and innovation. D*Face took inspiration from Kaspersky Lab’s tagline, “A Company To Save The World”, and hopes that his colourful work will inspire people to take positive action.
D*Face will announce his first-ever art car design with a custom-made livery for the DS Virgin Racing Team. Its design will be released at the “Art Goes Green” event after Saturday’s race. The helmets and art car are the latest installations in the “Save the World” collection, following a major permanent public mural that was installed in Brooklyn, New York, in May.
D*Face, whose real name is Dean Stockton, said: “It is exciting to work with Kaspersky Lab on this project and create art with a real message of hope for a better future. After all, this is our world and we need to look after it. It will take every one of us to make a real lasting, impactful change. I love the mentality of the DS Virgin Racing Team and that of Formula E by showcasing sport in a way that doesn’t harm the environment, but is still just as exhilarating and fun.
“It is time for us all to stand together and make a change… be that stopping data steals, climate change, plastic waste or using damaging fuels. I want everyone to make a pledge to do one thing that will help make a change.”
As a sponsor of DS Virgin Racing Team, Kaspersky Lab is responsible for protecting the team’s devices against cyber threats. The company sees the technical environment in the global sport of Formula E as the next frontier in furthering its research and development of new technologies to keep vehicles secure in the digital world.
Sylvain Filippi, Managing Director at DS Virgin Racing, said: “The whole team fully supports this great initiative and our thanks got to Kaspersky and D*Face for their collaboration. It’s an honour to have such an innovative artist bring his talents to bear in our team ahead of the season-finale; the car, drivers’ crash helmets and mural all look amazing.”
Aldo Fucelli Pessot del Bo, Head of Global Partnerships and Sponsorships at Kaspersky Lab added: “There is a need for innovation on a global scale, both in contemporary art and in the fast-growing sport of Formula E. Now, for the first time ever, Kaspersky Lab is proudly bringing together the two sectors in an effort to Save the World and unleash creativity, encourage freedom of expression and further innovation.”