As the digital age marches on, we have all learned that the convenience and benefits of the IoT, cloud storage and mobile devices come with a darker side.
Chain Store Age just released its predictions for the near future of cybersecurity. Their predictions for 2016 turned out to be accurate, so it's best to pay attention. Here are the upcoming trends and threats for 2017 and what businesses can do to keep up.
First and foremost, Chain Store Age notes that critical infrastructure remains uniquely vulnerable in 2017. Power plants, electrical grids and telecommunications networks, constructed before the threat of cyberattacks, are at risk from nation-states, terrorists and organized cybercrime. Regardless of source and motive, it is essential that security specialists work to improve safety measures in place and create plans for if and when an attack on infrastructure occurs.
The industrial IoT will also become more vulnerable to cyberattacks in 2017 as its informational and operational technologies continue to converge. Chain Store Age notes that these environments often run legacy systems. Security patches for these systems are either unavailable or left unused. A Kaspersky study found that over 180,000 industrial control systems in 71 countries are accessible via the internet. It also found that 91 percent of those systems can be remotely exploited by hackers. The industry sector needs to advance security measures across the board to prevent possible attacks. Chain Store Age suggests implementing more threat prevention solutions.
Mobile attacks will also continue to grow in number and sophistication in 2017. Chain Store Age predicts mobile devices will emerge as an even greater personal and corporate safety concern. To stay on top of an ever-expanding mobile surveillance and cybercrime industry, organizations need to continually roll out updated protections and closely monitor their mobile assets for vulnerable points.
Further, expect ransomware to catch up to distributed-denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks in prevalence. Both are capable of halting business operations — and Chain Store Age anticipates a greater number of attacks will be targeted toward influencing or silencing organizations. Both criminal and more legitimate organizations are expected to utilize this particular form of cyberattack in 2017.
DDoS and ransomware will also be used to attack cloud-based data centers. As more organizations move to this form of storage, cybercriminals could spread malignant code from cloud to cloud. Such attacks could aim to target a single organization but would disrupt many, obscuring motives and culprits. Possible strategies to combat ransomware attacks include multifaceted prevention strategies, separately maintained data backup facilities, as well as cooperation with law enforcement and peer organizations on collaborative security strategies.
The urgency is real. Security experts don't believe America is ready for a cyberattack. And while the threat to business and state alike may never be entirely eradicated, there are things businesses can do. Staying at the vanguard of technology, continuously enhancing preventative measures and cooperating among organizations in the face of cyberattacks may just keep data safe.
To keep up with the latest in all things IoT –– security, infrastructure, devices and more –– take a look at our monthly PYMNTS.com Internet of Things Tracker, sponsored by Intel.