The Incoming Fatality in Cyber security
Posted on November 15, 2017

With the quickly and constantly evolving nature of security risks, cyber attacks are ever more common. From Yahoo confessing that 3 billion of its accounts were hacked in 2013 data theft to Uber disclosing in late 2016 that personal data of 57 million of its customers were stolen, nobody seems to be immune from the proliferating rainfall of cyber-attacks. This has left every existing organization and its stakeholder more vulnerable and unsafe to the lurking potential threats.

According to Forbes, the global cyber security market is expected to hit USD 170 billion in 2020.This peak in the market can be highly owed to the advances of the cyber adversaries towards automated launch and sophisticated attacks. With the advancement in technology, experts believe that in 2018, hackers will exploit AI in the worst ways possible. They predict that adversaries will employ machine learning to support their attacks, learn from defensive responses and disrupt detection models to exploit newly discovered vulnerabilities faster than defenders can even patch them.

Similarly, McAfee Inc.’s threat prediction for 2018 has identified a potential evolution in ransomware from traditional PC to Internet of Things (IoT). IoT being a common use in everyday life can be used as an easy target. With the devices in IoT running through a single device, the compromise in a single device can enable hackers to overtake the whole system of interconnected devices. The biggest threat is the IoT devices being used in vast scale DDoS (Distributed Denial of Service) attacks to put down virtually any internet based service or website. It is also predicted that more worms will be used to launch malware. Since worms do not require a host program to propagate, the attacks through worms spread faster than many other methods hence hackers could explore this malware more.

The biggest example of a cybersecurity threat is the Wanna Cryransomware attack of May 2017, which affected 200,000 organizations in 150 countries. Countries such as Ukraine, Taiwan, and Russia were some of the major victims of the malware. Apart from them, hospitals in U.K., universities in China and international firms like FedEx were also victim to this attack.

With the advancement and heights of sophistication it seems essential that enterprises should focus more on strategic thinking and combine machine learning. Machine learning can process massive quantities of data and perform operations at great scale to detect and correct known vulnerabilities and suspicious behaviour. If this is incorporated within the functions then the organizations can gradually understand the risks and anticipate where they might come from.

The internet users similarly are susceptible to such attacks but they can still take matters into their own hands. It’s important to be generally cautious when going online, internet users need to stop clicking strange email links, avoid downloads from unofficial app marketplaces and have strong passwords on their online accounts. It is also highly recommended to use online privacy tools, such as VPNs, which encrypt all the information that is being shared between the user and VPN server.

The year of 2017 has been overwhelmingly tiresome and fearful enough but 2018 looks like an even steeper hill.  As an individual and an organization we should upgrade and evolve our solutions and protect ourselves through a proactive approach.

Pummy Agrawal, Senior Analyst at A2Z Insights

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