2019 To See Increase In Nation-State Cyberattacks, Ransomware


Will the New Year bring an increase in cyberattacks? According to one security expert, the answer is, unfortunately, yes.

According to Robert Ackerman, Jr., founder and managing director of cybersecurity venture firm AllegisCyber, and co-founder of DataTribe, a cybersecurity startup in Washington, D.C., companies should expect to see a rise in breaches in 2019, “as chronically improving malware will be deployed more aggressively on more fronts.”

Those cyberattacks cost companies in all areas. A 2017 Annual Cybersecurity Report (ACR) from Cisco found companies that suffer a data breach could have customer, opportunity and revenue losses exceeding 20 percent.

According to reports, Ackerman wrote that firms should be on the lookout for artificial intelligence (AI)-driven chatbots that can trick people into clicking malicious links, downloading nefarious files or sharing their private data with hackers. There will also be a significant increase in nation-state attacks, infecting routers and networks connected to storage devices worldwide, while terrorist-related groups will work to carry out cyberattacks on cities through Crimeware-as-a-Service (CaaS).

Ackerman also warned that another wave of ransomware is expected to hit in 2019.

“Ransomware exploded onto the scene in 2017, following the WannaCry outbreak and a series of successful follow-up ransomware attacks targeting high-profile victims,” he wrote. “According to the FBI, total ransomware payments in the U.S. have, in some years, exceeded $1 billion. There were scant high-profile ransomware victims in recent months, but the problem is highly likely to bounce back strongly in 2019. Ransomware attacks come in waves, and the next one is due.”

However, it’s not all bad news. The rise in breaches means companies need to be smarter with their cybersecurity, which will lead to online businesses abandoning password-only logins and adopting multi-factor authentication as the standard. Ackerman added that a number of states will adopt some version of Europe’s strict General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).

“The upshot is that individuals, businesses and government entities need to do everything possible to improve the state of their cybersecurity,” Ackerman wrote. “They cannot eliminate breaches, but they can avert some and improve the chances of mitigating them.”