Its been said , 2016 has been an interesting year for all things cyber.
It was the year that brought major breaches at TalkTalk (with an accompanying £400k fine), Three, Tesco bank and Ashley Madison amongst others.
The world heard the President-elect, Donald Trump’s ramblings on cyber security and people start to consider the implications of GDPR. What can we expect to see in 2017 then? Here are some things to consider.
Cyber security regulations improvement
We need to see a continuing improvement in the relevant regulations as apply to cyber security.
The dynamic and fast-moving nature of cyber security outpaces regulation which is far too slow and clumsy to be of any benefit and might actually hinder security by building a culture of compliance with regulations and a false sense of security against enemies who are agile, motivated, and clever.
Data theft turning into data manipulation
We can expect to see attackers changing their methodology from pure data theft and website hacking to attacking data integrity itself.
>See also: The Trojan horse: 2017 cyber security trends
This type of attack, in comparison to a straightforward theft of data, will serve to cause long-term, reputational damage to individuals or groups by getting people to question the integrity of the data in question.
Demand will continue to rise for security skills
A global shortage of cyber security-skills in the workplace arguably makes organisations more desirable targets for hacking.
Demand for expertise will rise as companies realise that their current IS strategy is not sufficient.
Also, with companies increasingly in-sourcing their security needs, internal training and skills growth has to continue to accelerate.
Cyber security and Internet of Things (IoT)
‘Secure by design’ will garner much copy but probably not deliver until 2018 or beyond.
On the other hand, the next generation of AI-powered attacks will be crafty enough to emulate the behaviours of specific users to fool even skilled security personnel.
This might include the ability to craft complex and bespoke phishing campaigns that will successfully fool even the most threat-conscious among us.
Attackers will target consumer devices
Ransomware is a recognised problem for companies of all shapes and sizes.
In 2017 and beyond, will we start to see consumers being targeted across a range of connected objects?
For example, attackers might target the smart TV in your house via a ransomware attack that would require you to pay a fee to unlock it.
Attackers will become bolder, more commercial less traceable
Hackers will look to become more organised and more commercialised, perhaps even having their own call centres – something already seen with fraudulent dating sites.
They will look to base themselves in countries where cybercrime is barely regarded as a crime and thereby placing themselves outside their victims’ police jurisdictions.
Attackers will get smarter
Attackers capability to write bespoke targeted code will continue to improve faster than the defenders ability to counter or get ahead of it.
They will continue to exploit the Dark Web, a small portion of the Deep Web, in order to successfully hide and to communicate with other criminals.
Breaches will get more complicated and harder to beat
Cyber criminals will look to grow their malicious activities using ransomware in ever more devious ways.
Such a ransomware variant has already been discovered using an innovative system to increase infections: the software turns victims into attackers by offering a pyramid scheme-style discount.
If the victim passes on a link to the malware and two or more people install this file and pay, the original victim has their files decrypted for free.
Cyber risk insurance will become more common
This type of insurance will increasingly become part of operational risk strategy however, the insurance industry needs to tailor products specific to client needs and not just provide blanket cover as extensions to existing risks.
As the industry evolves we might see cyber insurance covering for loss of reputation and trust with their customers, loss of future revenue from negative media or other exposure, and improvement costs for security infrastructure or system upgrades.
New job titles appearing – CCO (chief cybercrime officer)
In the aftermath of the TalkTalk data breach, MPs recommended appointing an officer with day-to-day responsibility for protecting computer systems from attack.
Will 2017 see organisations looking to appoint a chief cybercrime officer?
The CCO would be responsible for ensuring that an organisation is cyber-ready, would bear the responsibility for preventing breaches, would take the lead if a breach did occur and provide a robust connection between the board and the rest of the company.