2015 tech prediction: Hack attacks

Cyber criminals will be more active than ever in 2015, resulting in some nasty new problems for consumers. Here are five of the more worrisome predictions from security companies:

Blackouts: Adversarial nations or other bad guys will hack into essential public services and shut them down or cause other havoc, according to SentinelOne of Mountain View.

A few such attacks occurred in 2014, “including some that shut down power grids for short periods of time but were never publicly disclosed,” the company recently reported. And in coming months, it added, “we predict cyber inflicted power outages and irregularities in assembly operations at large manufacturing facilities.”

Bitter Apple: Though Apple’s products largely have experienced fewer malware problems than those using Windows, Android and other operating systems, “this will change in 2015,” SentinelOne also predicts.

“The biggest cause for concern here is that because these platforms are generally considered ‘safe,’ there are very few security products available to protect them from advanced attacks,” it warned.

Compromised “Things:” Attacks on the myriad smart, connected appliances, webcams, thermostats and other devices that make up the so-called Internet of Things “will increase rapidly” next year, according to McAfee Labs, the security arm of Santa Clara-based Intel.

“We predict that there will be a major attack in 2015 directly related to vulnerabilities” in such gadgets, McAfee noted in its latest annual “threats report.”

Held hostage: Ransomware – a type of cyber attack that hijacks a consumer’s computer and threatens to shut it down permanently unless the victim pays a ransom – will assume even uglier dimensions next year, McAfee also warned.

Besides having data on their computer held hostage, it said, “ransomware victims will be in for a rude shock when they attempt to access their cloud storage to restore data—only to find their backups have also been encrypted by the ransomware.”

Web woes: Although it says this might not occur until 2016, Tacoma security firm IID predicts “the Internet will become far more restricted and less open” as countries “strategically block access to Internet traffic originating from the networks of nations engaged in hostile cyber-activity.”

Illustration by KRT archives


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