2016 Cybersecurity: Why the Worst Is Yet to Come

Posted by Rob Williams on Tue, Dec 15, 2015 @ 11:00 AM

2016_Cybersecurity.jpgWith the end of 2015 fast approaching, predictions for next year’s key trends and developments in the IT industry are already making headlines.

The biggest area of concern remains cybersecurity. And if the predictions hold true, 2016 is going to be an even more trying year for security professionals to handle.

Cyber Threats Hitting Social Media  

Raytheon-Websense Security Labs is labeling 2016 as “the nightmare cybersecurity year.” One of the key engines driving the increased threat level is the presidential race.

In their annual report, Raytheon-Websense pointed out that presidential campaigns and agendas that are held through social media are especially dangerous. Hackers will be looking to leverage social media pages as hot spots for their nefarious activities, including defrauding campaign contributors out of seed money.

For the candidates, using social media presents a Catch-22. They must invest a lot of their political strategy in social media since sites like Facebook and Twitter are where a lot of their voters can be reached. Instead of traditional town hall meetings, social media sites are where voters are migrating to talk about key issues or engage directly with politicians.

Hackers know that social media is the place to be, so that’s also the ideal target area for them.

According to Bob Hansmann, director of security analysis and strategy for Raytheon-Websense Security Labs, “[Candidates] will have to trade off the value of the technology with the risks against using it – and against the risks of not using it. If all of the candidates are using a particular social media tool, and they aren’t, are they seen as less progressive, less in touch with the times?”

Mobile Apps and Payment Platforms Will Be Targeted

In addition to potential threats that the presidential race is set to usher in, Raytheon-Websense predicts that mobile technology payment methods and the overall payment security landscape will also be in the danger zone.

Pinpointing financial transactions that take place on mobile makes sense for a couple of reasons.

More and more users are using their mobile devices to make purchases and payments, even leaving their personal information out in the open on mobile sites and applications. Passwords and login details are encrypted. But as we’ve seen with other data breaches involving the compromise of personal data, encryptions aren’t impenetrable.

In addition, while the EMV chips are being embedded in credit cards to make transactions easier to process, they also present some security gaps that cyber criminals are looking to pounce on.

Attacking the Internet of Things

Extending on the point of mobile being a bigger target, we’ll also see attacks reach other personal devices that aren’t even on the radar of enterprise-level security.

In an interview with eSecurity Planet (in a panel discussion about 2016 security predictions), Secualert CEO Richard Greene explained this scenario: “Anything that can be connected to the internet can be an attack surface. It’s just a matter of time before you discover the Fitbit on your wrist or the thermostat connected to your Wi-Fi can be used as the starting point to penetrate corporate and government networks.”

Oxford Networks offers next-generation firewall and virus protection through its suite of cloud-based services. We work with our customers to take a proactive approach to recognizing and remediating threats before they become potential disasters. Click here to learn more about how our cloud solutions can help you achieve the security you need. 

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Topics: Security