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Cyber in 2018

Ransomware and malware will continue and even increase in prominence in 2018 thanks to the advance of machine learning, according to the 2018 Threat Predictions Report, by McAfee.

Steve Grobman, Chief Technology Officer for McAfee, LLC said: “The evolution of ransomware in 2017 should remind us of how aggressively a threat can reinvent itself as attackers dramatically innovate and adjust to the successful efforts of defenders. We must recognize that although technologies such as machine learning, deep learning, and artificial intelligence will be cornerstones of tomorrow’s cyber defenses, our adversaries are working just as furiously to implement and innovate around them. As is so often the case in cybersecurity, human intelligence amplified by technology will be the winning factor in the ‘arms race’ between attackers and defenders.”

Serverless apps enable greater granularity, such as faster billing for services. But they are vulnerable to attacks exploiting privilege escalation and application dependencies. They are also vulnerable to attacks on data in transit across a network, and potentially to brute-force denial of service attacks, according to the IT security firm.

The IT security firm’s report said machine learning can process massive quantities of data and perform operations at great scale to detect and correct known vulnerabilities, suspicious behavior, and zero-day attacks. But adversaries will employ machine learning themselves to support their attacks, learning from defensive responses. As for ransomware, the profitability of traditional campaigns will continue to decline as vendor defenses, user education, and industry strategies improve to counter them. Attackers will adjust to target less traditional, more profitable targets, including high net-worth individuals, connected devices, and businesses.

Machine learning and AI will continue proving their worth in the security space, says Al Sargent, Senior Director at OneLogin. He says: “The shock and awe has faded, and now we are really seeing effective applications of these technologies that go beyond marketing buzzwords. Another area that will see more support from vendors is shared threat intelligence. This has always been a challenge, maybe more so in the private sector than the public sector, and security vendors are weaponising threat intel, either from within their customer pool or across vendors, to better equip customers to address potential threats. Both of these areas will help push us more towards frictionless security workflows that enable a more risk based approach to safeguarding digital assets.”

While HR and finance departments are the easiest target for social engineering, IT staff pose the biggest insider risk to networks, whether caused by accidental or intentional actions. This is largely due to IT staff often possessing higher access rights than other users, a survey by a privileged access management product company suggests. Balabit surveyed 222 conference attendees in 2017 at the FIC (Forum International de la Cybersécurité) in France, RSA Conference in San Francisco, Infosecurity Europe in London in June and IDC Security Roadshows in CEE. Csaba Krasznay, Security Evangelist, Balabit said: “As attacks become more sophisticated, targeted attacks and APTs more commonly involve privileged users inside organisations – often via hacks involving stolen credentials. Today, IT Security professionals’ tough job has become even tougher. It is not enough to keep the bad guys out; security teams must continuously monitor what their own users are doing with their access rights. Privileged user accounts are perfect targets for intruders and therefore pose the highest risk. IT security professional need to quickly detect any suspicious or abnormal activities in order to prevent data breaches.”

The most favoured biometric authentication method, fingerprint sensoring, is preferred by 24 per cent of Brits, with four per cent favouring eye scan. Face and voice recognition still hardly play a role, according to a survey by GMX, an email and cloud provider. GMX discovered that more than half of respondents (51 per cent) do not want companies to save or use such personal data, while more than a third (39 per cent) are anxious that online criminals might get past biometric authentication methods. A similar number (37 per cent) fear not being able to access their online accounts as a result of malfunctions.

GMX CEO Jan Oetjen says: “Biometric log-in methods are still far from becoming mass market. However, for more security throughout the internet it is very important that alternative authentication methods like biometry are further researched. In order to meet the concerns of the users, providers have to fulfill high data protection requirements concerning the storage and use of biometrical data.”


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