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A Big Cyberattack Is Inevitable In 2017

By Victor Thomson , Jan 03, 2017 05:08 AM EST
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The connected cars might be vulnerable to hacking and cyberattacks. (Photo : DomisLive NEWS / YouTube)

Security analysts make dire predictions for 2017. According to them, we'll see more undetected, complex data integrity attacks this year aiming for political manipulation as well as financial gain.

Big Data Breach Expected In 2017

According to Network World, while data integrity attacks are, of course, not entirely new, these hacks have very damaging potential consequences, as they compromise the security of digital information with the aim of gaining unauthorized access to modify data for a number of ulterior motives. This could represent the ultimate weaponization of data.

According to Venture Beat, the year 2016 has seen even more cybersecurity activity than 2015. Around 500 million accounts have been swiped from Yahoo, $81 million have been stolen from Bangladesh Bank, and about 19,000 emails have been leaked from Democratic Party officials in the run-up to the election. On top of that, we have experienced the IoT-powered botnets launching record-breaking DDoS attacks that have taken down major websites of the Internet.

The cyber-attack headlines in 2016 offer, in reality, just a glimpse of a cyber war between security experts and hackers. This digital war is being waged every day on a grand scale. And what is worse is that it is expected worse to come. Escalated challenges are predicted by security experts for 2017.

Attackers Will Change Stolen Data

Today's cyber attackers are escalating website hacking and pure data theft to attacks that target data integrity. Hackers will use their ability to access information systems in order to cause long-term reputation damage to groups or individuals.

Rather than simply gaining a profit, attacks like the Yahoo and DNC breaches focused on influencing economic and political public opinion. This kind of cyber attacks are to be expected to continue in 2017, according to security experts. According to a recent online statement, the Russian group behind the election-related breaches is moving next on to Germany's elections.

The kind of scenario is particularly damaging for those industries that heavily rely on public confidence. Publicly traded companies, banks or even laboratories that cannot vouch for the fidelity of medical test results are among the organizations at particular risk. Such attacks could also be particularly damaging to governments, as public distrust in national institutions rises when critical data repositories are altered.

Consumer Devices Held For Ransom

Cryptolocker and other ransomware have plagued companies around the world in 2016. According to security experts, these attacks have increased fivefold in the last year alone. The ransomware encrypt critical files and leave companies facing hefty fees for their release.

Hospitals are prime targets and have suffered particularly at the hands of ransomware attacks. As they are full of critical patient records, life-saving medical equipment, patient devices and staff computers, hospitals' cyber defenses have failed to keep pace. This resulted in many organizations forced to pay up in order to recover their data. For instance, the Hollywood Presbyterian Medical Center in Los Angeles had to pay the equivalent of $17,000 in Bitcoin after its computers were taken offline by hackers for over a week.

As consumers are targeted across a range of IoT connected objects, in the year 2017 and beyond, it is expected to see the beginning of a new type of extortion on a micro level. For example, someone getting home and turning on their smart TV could find out that cybercriminals are running a ransomware attack on that device.

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