The year is coming to a close and for the the internet and cyber security communities that means looking back at what problems the internet faced in 2016, what issues are likely to arise in the year ahead, and how we can protect ourselves.
Palo Alto Networks is a multi-national cyber security company based in the United States focusing on utilising innovation in firewalls, endpoint protection, and security platforms with the aim of putting an “end to the era of breaches.”
In its 2017 cyber security predictions the tech security company splits what’s to come into two section, “Sure Things” (what they feel is most definitely coming your way) and “Long Shots” (the future of cyber security that is less likely to come about).
The first item on the list of cyber security predictions for 2017 is something called ransomware, a type of malicious software (known as malware) the attempts to lock out the user from accessing a network, files, or an application.
Kaspersky Lab, a Russian multinational cyber security and anti-virus provider headquartered in Moscow, Russia, defines ransomware as “malware that severely restricts access to a computer, device or file until a ransom is paid by the user.”
Palo Alto Networks throws this idea out, saying in their May report that ransomware is a business model, not necessarily malware. In order for the malware to work it has to make money, making it a means to an end.
According to the report this kind of software first appeared in 1989 in the US on a 5.25-inch floppy disk. After the initial boot of the software, the 90th time you started your computer system you were hit with a software notice and an invoice.
More Ransomware in 2017
In 2005 the first case appeared in Russian, and since has been rampant, Kaspersky reports. They claim the average cost of the ransom to a system is $300 payable within 72 hours. Without payment, you risk losing access, or files, depending on the point of the attack.
Palo Alto Networks believes that cases like this will become more frequent across a plethora of internet connected devices.
At the Def Con 24 hacking conference in August a team from Pen Test Partners gained access to an internet-connected thermostat as an example of how people may gain access to your Internet of Things (IoT) devices.
As for the “Long Shots,” Palo Alto seems to think that people are less likely to move away from email in favour of secure messaging applications.
Over the course of the year we have seen a lot of information spawned from email leaks. In the case of former chairman of the 2016 Hillary Clinton presidential campaign John Podesta’s e-mail leak the cause was found to be a fake password reset dialogue. Palo Alto has a clear message about email security, “Don’t put into an e-mail what you wouldn’t want to see on the front page of the newspaper.”
In short, email has become synonymous with daily communications, and getting people off email in favour of smart phone apps could be a serious challenge. You could opt to make a call, that’s a pretty safe bet, but for users who have had the email leak experience services such as Telegram, Line, WhatsApp, and Allo, or even Snapchat, offer end-to-end encryption, with some also providing self-deleting message capability.
To see more predictions about cloud security, machine learning driven-security, the IoT, and more, visit the Palo Alto Networks Predictions blog.
Presentation uploaded to SlideShare by Palo Alto Networks