Internet Security Predictions for 2015

Category: Security

Each year, Websense Security Labs releases a report with predictions regarding the computer and Internet security landscape for the coming year. This year’s 13 pages of prognostications contain some expected prophecies, and some surprising ones. Read on to stay ahead of the curve…

Internet Security 2015 - What Lies Ahead?

It's one thing to predict the future. But it's quite another to get it right. Looking back at the last year's version of the Websense Security Predictions report, seven of the eight threat predictions they made last year were spot on. And the Websense 2015 Security Predictions report is already proving to be an accurate indicator of things to come.

The first prediction for this year was related to Healthcare organizations. According to Websense, they will experience more attacks from data-stealing hackers. Medical records and patient data accounted for 43% of major data breaches reported in 2013, according to the Identity Theft Resource Center. Healthcare databases are rich in Personally Identifiable Information (PII) that hackers can use in identity theft or future phishing attacks, and they are often linked to exploitable financial data as well.

2015 Internet Security Predictions

Drum roll, please… Last week, Anthem, the second-largest health insurance provider in the USA, was breached by hackers. Tens of millions of customer records were stolen, which included names, addresses, birth dates and Social Security numbers.

Continuing with the list of Websense predictions…

Credit card data thieves will become consumer profile brokers. As the amount of bogus purchases that can be made before a stolen card is deactivated declines, crooks will turn to collating data stolen from multiple sources to create a consumer profile that is more valuable than any credit card’s data.

Your refrigerator will not be the target of identity thieves, but your utility company may be. The Internet of Things will spawn a vast array of new “attack surfaces,” but crooks will most target businesses rather than consumers.

Mobile devices will increasingly be targeted by hackers, but not with the intent to steal data stored on the devices. Thieves will be after identity credentials that provide access to cloud-based services and corporate networks.

New vulnerabilities will be found in decades-old open source code that is widely used and taken for granted. Found by security researchers, that is; it is likely that bad guys (and probably the Men With Dark Glasses) have been exploiting vulnerabilities such as Heartbleed, Shellshock, and OpenSSL for years. These recent security scandals have focused attention on old software that was developed by volunteers and never formally supported. It won’t be surprising if more flaws are found.

Email users can expect to see more spam getting through to their inboxes. While the total volume of spam sent out is declining, the bad guys are getting better at evading anti-spam solutions. In fact, they aren’t even using spam in the ways that anti-spam software is designed to detect. Instead of trying to get readers to click on links or open attachments, spam is now used to verify recipients, test login credentials, and effectively do reconnaissance for more advanced future attacks.

Google Docs and other well-known, trusted Web services will be invaded by botnet masters seeking better places to hide their command-and-control operations. Corporate and personal firewalls that may block sketchy unknown sites generally allow communications emanating from name-brand domains, so that’s where the bad guys want to establish their covert headquarters.

How Can You Protect Yourself?

It's a scary world online, and the cyberattacks seem to be escalating. But you can protect yourself from all these threats, if you use my advice found in these related articles:

I encourage you to read (or re-read) each of the above articles to make sure you've done all that you can to protect your computer and your personal information. And would you do me a favor? Please pass along this article to a friend or family member, and encourage them to sign up for the AskBob newsletter.

Your thoughts on this topic are welcome. Post your comment or question below...

 
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Most recent comments on "Internet Security Predictions for 2015"

Posted by:

Butch
09 Feb 2015

Two-Factor Authentication is not available to me as I do not have a cell/smart phone. Being a senior citizen, I simply can't afford the extra outflow of my meager finances. Do you suppose that, whenever Two-Factor Authentication becomes mandatory, some sort of safe provision can be made for folks in my situation?

EDITOR'S NOTE: Already done. With Google, you can use a voice call to a landline with two-factor auth. Other services have that option, too.


Posted by:

Joe Sabatino
09 Feb 2015

I'm ready to take my money out of the bank and put it under my mattress and ban my wife from Facebook.
I'm suspicious of the CLOUD and only a maniac would want my medical records.
What we need is an end to people who want to screw up things for others. (Proverbs 2:21,22) "For only the upright will reside in the earth, And the blameless will remain in it.  As for the wicked, they will be cut off from the earth, And the treacherous will be torn away from it."


Posted by:

Lucy
10 Feb 2015

Another great article, but I am unsure what you meant by "spam is now used to verify recipients"


Posted by:

eb
10 Feb 2015

They now can hack into your new car, it's so loaded with computer functions that it's a tempting target.
The way around it: Buy a Classic or a Vintage, you have style and safety.
http://money.cnn.com/2015/02/09/technology/security/car-hack/


Posted by:

chet
10 Feb 2015

Please explain further what this means "Credit card data thieves will become consumer profile brokers. As the amount of bogus purchases that can be made before a stolen card is deactivated declines, crooks will turn to collating data stolen from multiple sources to create a consumer profile that is more valuable than any credit card’s data"

EDITOR'S NOTE: The crooks can't charge much on the card before it's flagged as stolen and blocked. So they instead use the card (along with data stolen from other sources) to build a profile on the victim, which can be sold.


Posted by:

Chris
11 Feb 2015

Before I had a smart phone, I had 2-factor authentication by way way of an 'authenticator code' - used in corporate VPN since at least the late 80s (My dad had one to access his work VPN, when portable computers still had CRT monitors and weighed 40+ Lbs). The way it works, is you have a stand-alone device with a unique random number kernel. Once it is synched to the server, you enter the number it gives you (that number is only good for a minute or 2, then it changes). The earliest one I saw was dad's - the size and style of an early 80s TI calculator, minus the buttons, made by TI, with the same red LED numerical display). 1 button to turn on the display for 30 seconds. The last one I had was for an online game - hardware cost $6. Almost $2 of that was shipping. It was about the size of a thumb drive, and had a key ring attached. The case felt mostly empty - the size was dictated by the 9-digit LCD, so you really couldn't make them much smaller. I had it for about 4 years, and the battery never died. When I finally lost it, I switched to a smart-phone app-based authentication setup. The company that runs those game servers (Blizzard) still offers the hardware authenticators (I think the price has gone up to $7 or $8 now). I've never understood why my games and social networks offer 2-factor authentication (and some have for over a decade), but my bank (a big one) still doesn't ... They just quit using my SS # as my login ID, less than a year ago. Talk about security risks...


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